When we think of warm summer days transitioning into crisp autumn nights, we often conjure up images of children returning to school, leaves changing colors, and football games being back in full swing. What we may not think about, however, is an increase in couples filing for divorce – a recent study out of the University of Washington studied a 14-year period and revealed evidence showing that over the course of a 12-month calendar year, divorce filings increase in the months of March and August.
Not surprisingly, these two months follow the winter and summer holiday seasons, and researchers believe that the timing of couples filing for divorce is connected to a “domestic ritual” schedule of family and societal behavior. More specifically, researchers believe these annual spikes can be explained by the culture idea that worships family holiday time in both the summer and winter seasons. Additionally, it was noted that the holiday season often brings feelings of hope that, even though the relationship may be on a downward spiral, time with the family during the holidays will rectify the marriage and any standing issues.
Divorce Rate Increases with the Season
When the high hopes and expectations of the holiday season are not met, it may propel unhappy spouses to take the next step in filing for divorce. This is why researchers believe there is a sharp increase in divorce filings during the late summer months – family vacations have come to a close and the everyday routine of the school year is about to begin. A similar link can be made for the increase in filings during the month of March – the holiday season has ended, and, when the time it takes to find an attorney and prepare to file for divorce is taken into consideration, March seems like the appropriate time frame.
Researchers who conducted this study also discovered that there is an increase in family filings, including guardianship filings, during the months of March and August. Although the initial study was done using the Washington court system, the researchers replicated the study in other states and found a seminal pattern in other states, such as Minnesota, Ohio, Arizona, and Florida. While further research is required in order to determine if this pattern exists throughout the country, the evidence found in the study suggests that these increases are tied to the end of the holiday seasons.