Is “divorce season” upon us?
A new report from researchers at the University of Washington suggests that there are two months when couples are most likely to divorce: August and March.
According to associate sociology professor Julie Brines and doctoral candidate Brian Serafini, who presented their findings at the American Sociological Association’s recent conference, couples are more likely to call it quits after family-heavy periods of the year — i.e. summertime and the winter holidays.
“People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past,” said Brines. “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.”
But when expectations don’t match reality, cracks in the foundation of a marriage can become more apparent — which leads to higher divorce rates.
The researchers reviewed divorced divorce filings in Washington state between 2001 and 2015 and quickly saw a pattern emerge. They hypothesize that couples with kids file in August because their children have not yet gone back to school, so they have the opportunity to make a move before schedules get back into full swing.
As for the March filings, Brines and Serafini suggest that couples are likely taking time to find lawyers and save money after the holidays before heading to court.
The pair also looked at divorce filings in Ohio, Minnesota, Florida and Arizona — states that have similar divorce laws to Washington — and found that the pattern was the same.
Hang in there, friends. It’s almost September.