If you have ever wondered how stress from the holiday season and family vacations can affect our relationships, a new study may have the answers. Researchers from the University of Washington examined 15 years of divorce records throughout the state and found that divorce rates rise dramatically in March and then again in August. This study is among the first which examines our social calendar’s effect on marriages and divorce. The paper is yet to undergo peer-review and although a direct causal link is yet to be established, the researchers suggest several possible factors which may explain the rise in divorce rates.
Why Do Divorce Rates Rise in March and August?
One theory for the rise in divorce rates involves the tendency of couples and families to plan vacations around the middle of the year. A trip can put the viability of a marriage to the test and a spouse may use the experience as a way to give a relationship “one last chance” before deciding to part ways. The study refers to this as the “broken promises” theory of divorce as couples may become disappointed after a vacation fails to strengthen, or causes further damage to a relationship.
Another possible explanation for the increase in the divorce rate revolves around the stress involved with the holiday season. The holidays have a way of amplifying emotions and can put already tense relationships under additional strain. Couples may want to wait until a break between the holidays before breaching the subject of divorce. This time frame between Valentine’s Day and thanksgiving matches with the divorce rate trends presented in the paper.
Although the study did not directly include divorce records from outside of the state of Washington, there is evidence to suggest that this trend may be nationwide. For example, researchers found an increase in online searches for terms like “child custody” and “divorce” around the month of March. This suggests that an increased interest exists in family law and divorce in the general population during this time.
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Working through a divorce can put families under tremendous stress and the right steps for a couple to take are not always clear. At Barnett Gill, we have been serving families since 1988 and can help you to understand the legal options available to you and your family. Whether you want to explore options out of the courtroom or a litigated divorce is on the horizon, our Brandon divorce lawyer can provide compassionate representation during each step of the process.
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