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Research Shows that Divorce May Be Seasonal


Do married couples in Hillsborough County file for divorce with more frequency at particular times of the year? In other words, is divorce seasonal? According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, “to everything there is a season—even divorce.” The study was conducted by researchers in the sociology department at the University of Washington in what they stated was “the first quantitative evidence of a seasonal, biannual pattern of filings for divorce.”

What else do you need to know about the timing of divorce, and how could these statistics impact whether divorces occur during this year’s holiday season?

Divorce Rates Peak in March and August

According to Julie Brines, an associate professor of sociology at UW, and Brian Serafini, who was a doctoral candidate at the time of the study, divorce rates tend to peak in both March and August. Brines and Serafini noted that these are particular times of year that follow both winter holiday breaks and summer vacations. During the 14-year period in which they studied divorce filings, the peaks in March and August were consistent year after year.

What leads divorce filings to peak significantly at these times of the year (and, conversely, to drop in December)? The authors of the study suggest that “divorce filings may be driven by a domestic ritual calendar governing family behavior.” As Brines explained, “winter and summer holidays are culturally sacred times for families,” which means that they are times of year “when filing for divorce is considered inappropriate, even taboo.” As such, even if a couple believes that they may be headed for divorce, they may tend to avoid filing for divorce during these particular times of year that feel “sacred” for families. Avoiding divorce during winter and summer holidays means that divorce filings tend to go up once those holidays are over.

Trying to Make Relationships Work During the Holidays Can Result in Divorce Shortly Thereafter

The other explanation for a peak in divorce rates in March and August is that some married couples believe the holiday season, or an extended vacation, can help to fix problems in the marriage. As Brines clarified, “people tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past.” Couples see holiday vacations as presenting new opportunities to start over.

However, once the vacation ends and life gets back to “normal,” many of those couples realize that filing for divorce is the right course of action for them. Accordingly, the March divorce peak is tied to the end of the winter holiday season, while the August divorce peak is tied to the end of summer vacation.

Even though the study focused on Washington State divorce rates, the researchers also looked at data from other states in the U.S., including Florida, and found that the patterns persisted.

A Tampa Divorce Attorney Can Help With Your Case

The process of filing for divorce and going through the divorce process can feel daunting, but an experienced Tampa divorce lawyer can advocate for you every step of the way. The dedicated attorneys at our firm have years of experience helping clients through difficult divorce cases, and we can speak with you today about your case. Contact Bubley & Bubley, P.A. for more information about how we help families in the Tampa, Florida area.



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