At What Time of Year is Divorce Most Likely?
A recent study of divorce filings in Utah indicates there are two particular months out of the year at which divorce filings peak: March and August. But January and February are also higher than normal.
Researchers have presented a number of hypotheses as to why people are more likely to get divorced in these months. The most commonly accepted reason is that these months typically come after winter or summer holidays. Many couples might hope the holiday season in the winter or a big summer vacation will mend their relationship and allow them to get “back to normal,” but this mindset tends to lead to disappointment. Divorce is sometimes the logical next step.
In the study, researchers examined divorce filings in Washington between 2001 and 2015. filings steadily increased by about 33 percent from December to March. In Salt Lake County, for example, there was an average of 430 filings each December, with that number jumping to an average of 520 in March. In Utah, in 2018, there are literally thousands of cases that have been filed. In the Third District Court, there has been more than 6,000 family law cases.
The general consensus is that people make the decision to get divorced around the holidays in December and January, but then wait a couple of months to get their finances in order and consult a family law attorney before formally moving ahead. This would explain why the peak falls in March, rather than in January or December.
Researchers also noticed a spike of divorce filings in the month August. Researchers suspect that couples may be waiting until after their family vacations are over, or that they may wish to get the process started before their kids go back to school.
All of these seasonal divorce filing patterns were consistent with research performed in other states, and so these trends may very well be present nationwide.
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