When researchers at the University of Washington started to analyze divorce filing records from 2001 to 2015, they expected they would see a fairly even graph with some slight difference. What they got was a bit more surprising.
According to their findings, a considerable spike of divorce filings occur in both March and August and a noticeable dip in filings occur in November and into December. Comparing what they found in the filings to more real world examples, it was discovered that online search queries regarding “divorce” and “child custody” also dramatically increase during March. While their information base is solid – 15 years’ worth of filings is nothing to scoff at – it only opened up more windows for speculation, rather than answering questions.
Why Does Divorce Spike in March & August?
The peaks and valleys of the research suggests that there is more going on than meets the eye. To assume that coincidence is the only factor behind the rises in March and August, and the decline in December, would likely be incorrect. So what is actually happening?
The researchers think that the biggest contributor to divorces, and thus to spikes in March and August, are family vacations and get-togethers. Americans take more vacations in July than any other month of the year. After spending time in close quarters for a week or more, a spouse on the verge of divorce might decide that it is finally time to call it quits. The added heat of August that most of the country experiences probably doesn’t do well for peoples’ patience, either.
The drop in December is likely caused by the holiday season. People are less reluctant to “break up a family” when Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukah are right around the corner. They might even try to hold onto their marriage after the holidays end, coming down from a holiday high, only to accept that they are unhappy and need a change a few months later, so around March. Valentine’s Day might also lend itself to March divorces, as couples who find that there is no “spark” left between them on our nation’s day of romance ultimately decide to file.
It is certainly an intriguing study but more needs to be done to really end the speculation and get the answers. For example, the researchers only used data from Washington. If another state has contrasting data, it could suggest that there is something happening in Washington alone that is causing these fluctuating divorce rates.
Keep an eye on our blog regularly to catch updates on this study, should any develop. Or contact our Oklahoma City divorce attorneys directly for any questions or concerns you might have about a divorce case of your own.