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Valentine's Day isn't just for lovers anymore

If you're on the verge of a divorce, you may feel especially unhappy this Valentine's Day. It can be hard to watch people in love feeding sweet chocolates to each other while your own relationship continues to sour.

But rest assured you're not alone: Divorce filings rise by about 40 percent during this time of year, according to Avvo, a website that rates and ranks lawyers. Many couples already at odds with each other have stuck out their relationship through the holidays for the sake of their children and other family members, but soon decide they can take no more. Others have made it their New Year's resolution to finally get out of their marriage. And some use Valentine's Day as a final test of their spouse.

Many divorce lawyers are aware of this trend and attempt to capitalize on it. For the fifth consecutive year, a law firm in West Virginia is offering a free divorce to the couple that presents the most compelling case. In addition to a convincing argument, the winning couple has to want an uncontested divorce with minimal custody issues. They're also still required to pay court fees and expenses. But for two people who have had it with each other but don't have the money to split up, the offer means they'll get lucky on Valentine's Day after all.

A New Zealand radio station is offering a similar incentive. It's giving a man the chance to tell his wife that he wants a divorce live over the radio on Valentine's Day. In exchange for his participation, the radio station will cover the cost of his divorce.

Of course, you don't have to wait for a special occasion or a contest to move on with your life. A consultation with a divorce attorney is usually the first step to learning what the process entails and how much it will cost. And you can celebrate that initiative any time of year with a big box of chocolates all to yourself.

Source: The Guardian, "Valentine's Day statistics show: on a day for lovers, the fur can really fly," Saabira Chaudhuri, Feb. 13, 2012

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