The Meter featuring Legalmatch
Valentine's Day gifts now include divorce papers

Kelley Smith
Contributing Reporter

Issue date: 2/12/07 Section: Love and Sex

Most couples celebrate Valentine's Day by giving greeting cards, flowers, candy or the like. But others have found a more unconventional gift to give-divorce papers.

Legal Match, a San Francisco-based Internet company that matches clients to attorneys, has coined the term the "Valentine's Effect" in order to describe the surge in requests for divorce attorneys that are made about two weeks prior to Valentine's Day each year.

Feb. 14 is a "day of romance that makes you face up to the reality that you have none," John Kitta, a California-based divorce lawyer and LegalMatch client, told

Sadism may be an explanation for filing for divorce at such a time. Clients also ask attorneys to serve divorce papers on other special days, like birthdays or anniversaries, Kitta said.

"I can't say that I wouldn't do something like that if I were fed up enough," said Kelly Davis, a junior psychology major from Farrell, Penn. "Sometimes it feels good to get back at someone who has hurt you with some kind of stab that you know hurts them just as bad."

However, filing for divorce around Valentine's Day may be more strategic than sadistic. It may even be beneficial to both people involved.

Waiting until mid-February to file for divorce conveniently allows couples to make it through the busy, often family-oriented holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. It also gives them time to file joint taxes, meaning larger returns.

"I stayed with my husband until February, even though I was ready to leave months before that," said Cheri Hall, a freshman at Ivy Tech University in Bloomington, Ind. "I didn't want to spend the holidays alone, and then at New Year's I tried to convince myself we could have a new start.

"Of course, that didn't happen, and by Valentine's Day, I decided that I deserve better," Hall added. So I left."?

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