At this time of the year, parents are busy preparing and finalizing plans for the upcoming school year, making trips to discount stores for supplies, shopping malls for clothes and grocery stores for lunches.
Interestingly enough, a recently released study by researchers at the University of Washington reveals that many of these parents might also be making another stop during this otherwise hectic time of the year: a law office to learn more about their options for divorce.
Indeed, after examining divorce filings in Washington state from 2001 through 2015, the researchers determined that the months of August and March saw sustained and dramatic spikes in the number of people looking to legally dissolve their marriages.
Furthermore, they found that these filings not only held true when other seasonal factors like housing conditions and unemployment were accounted for, but that this same pattern was present in at least four other states, including Florida.
What’s behind this phenomenon?
The researchers theorize that these two months are proceeded by winter and summer holiday seasons that are not only traditionally associated with family, but also culturally viewed as being conflict-free. In other words, couples whose marriages are on the rocks often view Christmas vacations or summer vacations as opportunities to try to mend their relationships.
“[These holidays] 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,” explained one researcher. “It’s like an optimism cycle, in a sense.”
When these lofty expectations aren’t met and/or prove to be considerably more stressful than couples imagined, it can result in the final decision to move forward with a divorce.
This naturally begs the question though as to why March and August are the months that see the biannual spikes in divorce filings.
As to the post-holiday period leading up to the March spike, the researchers believe that spouses simply need time to work up their courage and get their affairs in order before they are comfortable moving forward with the divorce.
As to the much-shorter post-holiday season leading up to the August-spike, the researchers posit that the start of the school year might force parties to move faster with a divorce, while other factors like longer days and more outdoor activities might serve as mood elevators encouraging more decisive action.
What are your thoughts on this study? Do you support its conclusions? If you divorced during August or March, what were your reasons?
If you have questions about the divorce process in Florida or would like to learn more about a divorce-related topic, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more.