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Is It Divorce Season Yet?

Love comes and goes, and it’s easy to think that relationships end when the people in them decide to go their separate ways. But researchers seem to have stumbled upon a seasonal schedule to breakups.

A new report based on 15 years of divorce data noted two seasonal spikes in divorce rates and found “they consistently peaked in March and August, the periods following winter and summer holidays.” Are people escaping their marriages along with the winter doldrums every spring? Are they dreading another year of in-laws during Thanksgiving and Christmas? Here’s a closer look at the study.

Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall

Researchers from the University of Washington first looked at divorce filings in the state between 2001 and 2015, and noticed the two seasonal spikes in spring and late summer. Then they compared the data to four other states with similar divorce laws but differing demographics and economic conditions (Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, and Ohio), and the results were the same. So why March and August? Or, alternatively, why not during the holidays?

Associate sociology professor Julie Brines opined that the summer and winter holidays are sacred times for families, when filing for divorce would be frowned upon, and they are inherently optimistic times as well:

“People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past. 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. It’s like an optimism cycle, in a sense.”

All You Gotta Do Is Call

Of course, not every divorce can be a calculated decision. But there may be some legal considerations to take into account when deciding when to file for divorce. State laws won’t punish or reward you for filing in a certain month, but putting a divorce off or pulling the trigger quickly can have a significant legal impact.

On the one hand, child custody and child support issues are generally easier to sort out when children are older, especially if they’re over 18 and have moved out. Then again, there are some divorce options, like a summary dissolution, that are only available within the first five years of marriage, before children, real estate ownership, and shared marital property have created too many legal entanglements.

Seeing as it is the end of August, divorce season is in high swing. If you’re considering a divorce, you should talk to an experienced attorney first about all of your legal options and the possible implications.

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