Everything is seasonal – even divorce… at least that’s what sociologists at the University of Washington have found. Divorce filings in Washington between 2001 and 2015 have been analysed by the University and sociologists found that divorce filings peaked in March and August, the periods following winter and summer holidays.

They say the holidays are sacred times for families and that filing for divorce is considered inappropriate, or even taboo.

They concluded that troubled couples may see the summer and winter holidays as a time to mend the relationship and make a new start claiming ‘We’ll have a happy Christmas together as a family or take the kids for a nice camping trip, the thinking goes, and things will be better.’

Julie Brines, Sociology Professor at the University said:

“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.”

Holidays are a stressful time of year and researchers say the consistency in divorce filings around these times reflects the disillusionment unhappy spouses feel when the holidays don’t live up to expectations. Divorce filings in August may be due to an unhappy summer vacation whilst the spike in March may be prolonged from Christmas whilst couples arrange finances or even build the courage to file for divorce, Brines suggests.

The team said they were surprised by their findings and said that the pattern persisted even after accounting for other seasonal factors such as unemployment and the housing market.

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