A new study has revealed a seasonal pattern in divorce cases among couples. The findings show that March and August witness the greatest number of divorces. Apparently, divorces have a season too, just like mostly everything else!
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the 111th American Sociological Association; they have not been peer-reviewed yet though.
March and August seem to be the favourite month for divorces to happen. When a team of researchers from the University of Washington analysed a series of divorces filed over a period of over 10 years, between 2001 and 2015, they found biannual trends pertaining to the filing of divorce. This would imply that couples prefer to remain together for festivals like Christmas and for the summer holidays before jumping to a final decision. The authors explain that people might associate these periods with great positivity such that they delay breaking up.
“People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past,” Julie Brines, one of the researchers.
“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. They’re very symbolically charged moments in time for the culture.”
On the other hand, people might ultimately file for divorce after the holidays because of the disappointment they might have then endured; following the excitement of the holidays, they would probably have more time to go through the procedures pertaining to divorce.
Now, why would couples wait until March following the December holidays? Why not get divorced right after? Brines explains that this might be because of parents waiting for their children to go back to school before taking such a major decision.
It is to be noted that these results were obtained from participants from a particular state. The researchers now wish to test for this trend in other states of the US. They have already done some preliminary work in several states though.
“What I can tell you is that the seasonal pattern of divorce filings is more or less the same,” says Brines.
This type of experiments is thought to provide more insight into the seasonal trends relating to family relationships that could be used to look into and forecast break-ups and legal proceedings.