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Why Are More Couples Divorcing In March and August?

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divorce peak in march and august Via Pexels

About 40 to 50 percent of American marriages face divorce1, and a new study from the University of Washington is saying divorce might even be seasonal.

According to research from the university, the months of March and August have the highest numbers of divorce. Researchers involved in the study looked at the number of divorce filings in 37 of the 39 counties in the state of Washington from 2001 to 2016.

They found that the divorce rate peaked during both months, which come after winter and summer holidays. In December, the average amount of divorce filings was at a low of 430. They then rose to 570 in March, an increase of 33 percent, according to The Seattle Times.2

This pattern follows a “domestic ritual calendar,” according to Julie Brines, an associate sociology professor at the University of Washington and coauthor of the study.

Holidays in the winter and summer months are typically important times to family. Filing for a divorce during those times can be even more difficult on a family and be considered inappropriate, Brines said.

Once the holidays end, and feelings of happiness from family decrease, some may feel more comfortable to move forward with divorce.

“People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past,” Brines said in a UW statement. “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.”

To read more on the study, click here.

1) Marriage and Divorce. American Psychological Association. Accessed August 25, 2016.

2) Divorces spike twice a year: Let’s just say summer and the holidays don’t help. The Seattle Times. Accessed August 25, 2016. 

3) Is divorce seasonal? UW research shows biannual spike in divorce filings. University of Washington. Accessed August 25, 2016.

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