Researchers at the University of Washington recently published a study, billed as the first of its kind, which suggests that there may be seasonal patterns to divorce. While dissatisfied spouses can – and do – file for divorce during all months of the year, according to the study, divorce filings consistently peak during two months in the spring and summer.
Divorce Rates Peak After the Winter Holidays
According to the study, which analyzed divorce filings from 2001 through 2015, the first peak month for divorce filings in March. The study’s authors attribute this spike to the winding down of the winter holidays. Referring to the “domestic ritual” of observing family holidays during the winter months, the authors suggest that the increase in divorce filings in March may reflect a combination of:
- A desire not to disrupt traditional holiday activities, particularly for children and other family members;
- Unsuccessful efforts to mend spousal relationships during family holidays; and,
- Dissatisfaction from the holidays not meeting unfulfilled spouses’ expectations.
While March is several months after the winter holiday season, the researchers hypothesize that the delayed peak in divorce filings to the time it takes people to get their finances in order and make the ultimate decision to file for divorce. In addition, the study’s data show that divorce rates climb sharply during January and February, after hitting an annual low in December.
Divorce Rates Also Peak After Summer Vacation
The second peak in divorce filings takes place in August, following summer vacation. Filing rates jump sharply from July to August, after remaining relatively stable from April through July. The study’s authors suggest that the same factors that lead to low divorce rates during the winter holidays may also lead to low divorce rates during the summer vacation season. However, whereas individuals may feel less pressure to start the divorce process immediately after the holidays, the authors suggest that spouses with children may wish to initiate the process before dealing with the hustle and bustle of the fall semester.
After August, divorce rates fall sharply through the end of the year before making a significant jump in January.
Considerations when Preparing for a Divorce
While these data may provide insight into why many people choose to file for divorce at particular times of the year, they should not influence your decision about when or whether to file for divorce. The decision to end your marriage is a personal one, and one that requires a thorough, introspective look at your personal, family, and financial circumstances.
In addition, if you are thinking about waiting until after the winter holidays to file for divorce, you should use this time to prepare for the process to come. Getting a divorce takes time, and putting in the effort now to collect information and start thinking about the key issues can help streamline the process once you ultimately decide to file. For example, during your divorce you may need to answer questions like:
- Are you willing to give up certain pieces of property in exchange for others? Are there certain assets that you want to make sure you keep?
- What rights do you want in terms of child custody and visitation?
- Is your spouse attempting to hide assets or income in order to avoid paying child support or alimony?
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Divorce Attorney at Laubacher & Co.
If you would like to learn more about what you need to be doing now to prepare for your divorce, we invite you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Evening and weekend appointments are available. To speak with an attorney, call our Cleveland, OH law offices at (440) 336-8687 or request an appointment online today.