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The connection between the holidays and divorce rate spikes

Many families in California spend January focusing on the post-holiday return to work and preparing for colder weather. Some married couples experience another type of coldness in the first month of the year: January is notorious for its high rate of divorce filings. It is believed that the reason for this could be because divorces desired earlier are put off until after the December holidays.

A study by the University of Washington found that March and August are the biggest months for finalizing divorces, but every January, there is a spike in divorce filings. Legal experts believe that the holidays play a part in this. For some couples, especially those who have children, filing for divorce during the holiday season might feel wrong. For others, the decision to divorce might not be made until having gone through an emotional holiday season that brings underlying problems in the marriage to the surface.

As for divorces in March and August, experts believe there may be a reason for the spikes in those months that is similar to the reason for January. Valentine’s Day and summer vacations could have the same effect on couples that the December holidays do. Couples with problems as holidays or vacations approach might see these events as one last chance to save their marriage. If they are still unhappy after the holiday is over, they might decide to give up on the marriage and head to court.

Some couples who are divorcing have disagreements about how to divide property or about child custody, but many couples come into divorce with general agreement about these matters. For those couples, collaborative divorce is an option that might enable them to avoid courtroom litigation.

SOURCE: The Atlantic, ‘Why Divorce Spikes in March and August,” Olga Khazan, August 23, 2016

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