Certain times of year are common for different life events or family activities. For instance, September is the most popular month in the U.S. for birthdays. Research indicates that this is true as well for divorce.
A study from the University of Washington indicates that there is a biannual pattern for divorce filings, which occur in March and August. Associate sociology professor Julie Brines and doctoral candidate Brian Serafini reviewed filings from 2001 and 2015 to determine the trend exists.
Why do divorce rates increase?
The researchers believe this trend is due to the winter and summer holidays that precede these months. Those times are “sacred” for families and many couples try to give it one last try to make the marriage work during family holiday celebrations or summer vacations.
Unfortunately, the stress that comes with these seasons can sometimes speed up the decision to divorce, if the holiday doesn't turn out as rosy as they expected. In August, after a vacation and before school starts, couples may decide it is time to call it quits.
But if this is true, why is the other spike in March? One reason is because it takes time to divorce, either because couples are arranging their finances, looking for an attorney or taking time to ask for a divorce. Many couples are likely beginning the process now, even if they won’t file for a couple months.
Whenever couples choose to divorce, it is an emotional and complex decision. Beginning the process now could help couples take the time they need to sort out their finances, establish parenting agreements and end their marriage peacefully in the coming months.