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Seasonal Patterns Of Divorce: What The Research Shows

Do certain times of the year have any impact on the divorce rate? Recent research suggests that it does, especially during the late summer and holiday seasons.

One study done by University of Washington researchers showed that divorce filings may be driven by what they call "domestic ritual calendars." They found that divorce is consistently higher during the months of August and March -- which follow summer and winter holidays.

Rising Divorce Rates In August

There are a variety of reasons why divorce rates tend to spike in August. Research has shown that the financial stress of summer vacation -- whether that involves an increase in childcare costs or the high price of family vacations -- can take their toll on a marriage that already was on shaky ground. Another reason is that couples may delay filing for divorce so that they don't ruin their kids' school breaks. It's also suggested that some couples view the summer break as an opportunity to give the marriage one last chance.

Divorce And Family Holidays

Holidays, like summer breaks, are important times to families, and couples often choose to wait until these periods are over before making the difficult decision to divorce. It's also one reason cited for the spike in divorce filings in March when there may be a delayed affect from the Christmas holidays.

The holidays can put additional pressure and stress on a struggling marriage. It's a time when additional money is spent, perhaps straining budgets, while spending time in preparation, with relatives, and family gatherings that makes couples spend more time together while under pressure. And like summer, many couples see the holidays as a last-ditch effort to save their marriage.

Moreover, the New Year is also seen as a time of change and renewal. People often take stock by reviewing the past year while making resolutions and changes for the coming year. Those changes could include divorce.

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