From summer vacation to separation

As the temperatures rise in August, so does the divorce rate. According to a study from the University of Washington, divorce is indeed seasonal, reaching its highest peaks in March and August – times that follow winter and summer vacation. This discovery suggests that divorce filings may be driven by a “domestic ritual” calendar governing family behavior. But it may also mean that family vacations exacerbate or expose underlying conflict between couples.

Understanding the reasons behind these seasonalities can provide valuable insights into your own relationship. In this article, we’ll discuss some of those reasons in depth, and what to do if you’re considering filing for divorce before the holidays, especially if you have kids.

This started long before the trip

At first, sociologists Julie Brines and Brian Serafini were studying the effects of the recession on marital stability. But after analyzing divorce filings between 2001 and 2015, they found these filings consistently peaked in March and August. This pattern persisted even after considering other seasonal factors such as unemployment and the housing market.

The reason behind this? Troubled couples may see the holidays as a time to repair their relationship. “People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations,” Brines said. “They represent periods in the year when there’s the anticipation or the opportunity for a new beginning, a new start, something different, a transition into a new period of life.”

But holidays, while festive, can also be emotionally charged and stressful for many couples, revealing cracks in a marriage. As Brines and Serafini point out, these divorce filings actually reflect the disillusionment unhappy couples feel when the holidays fall short of their expectations.

Couples may decide to file for divorce in August, following summer vacation and before kids start school. However, they may file in March because they need time to get their finances in order or choose to spend one last winter together before their separation.

Preparing for winter

While this study can provide insights for struggling couples, the decision to get divorced is still a personal one. Whether you’re considering filing for divorce before the holidays or post-summer vacation, you can take the time to start planning for your divorce proceedings.

At Green Giraffe Legal Services, we know how important it is for clients to understand the legal and financial ramifications of divorce timing. That’s why if you’re contemplating divorce during any month, we can help you understand the legal timeline and your legal options. And if you’re worried about the cost of an attorney, we offer unbundled legal services so you have more control over the cost of your legal fees.