Scientists and sociologists at the University of Washington looked at patterns in divorce filings over a 14-year period. Presenting findings at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, lead researcher Professor Julie Brines revealed that they had uncovered a peak in divorce filings in both March and August between 2001 and 2015 in the state of Washington.
They believe that the cause of these increases at these particular times of year is couples putting off filing for divorce, ‘getting through the holidays’ for the sake of children and family relations. The stress of holidays is also thought to push couples to breaking point, especially if a particularly luxurious or expensive holiday, or a ‘make or break’ getaway, doesn’t live up to their high expectations.
Professor Brines explained:
“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.”
Explaining why March and not January and February (the months immediately following Christmas) is a peak month for divorce filings, researchers argued that the financial strain of the festive period and the darker days of winter could put people off making a serious decision such as filing for divorce. When spring rolls around with its longer days and brighter weather, this has historically been seen as a time when people feel motivated to make significant changes in their lives.
In order to establish if this is a nationwide and perhaps even global pattern, researchers are now extending their research to cover divorce filings in other states such as Ohio, Florida, Arizona and Minnesota.
Divorce filings up after school holidays
Another expert, family lawyer Ayesha Vardag, also told the Daily Mail that their firm had often seen divorce rates shoot up and occasionally even triple immediately following the school holidays. She explained:
“Proximity to family members for a sustained period of time, particularly in close quarters in a hotel or holiday let is a prime cause.
“With a summer holiday, the pressures of keeping everyone occupied while finding time to relax paradoxically creates more tension for parents who have travelled abroad in search of sunnier climes.
“These tensions will only worsen with a relationship that is already on the rocks and, without the daily distractions that enable denial such as work, colleagues and friends, reality can really begin to bite.”
If you’ve found yourself facing a similar situation following a ‘make or break’ holiday, now is the time to seek some expert advice from a UK partnership law expert. Get in touch with the team at Tracey Miller, Wirral divorce solicitors, for a friendly chat – whether or not now is the right time to start divorce proceedings.