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01 Jun New Study Finds Seasonal Increases in Divorce

New Study Finds Seasonal Increases in Divorce

Tis the season – as the saying goes in Western countries. However, all may not be as dandy as the old song suggests. Insofar as relationships are concerned, a new sociology study out of the University of Washington has compiled data to discover consistent seasonal trends in divorce. Specifically, couples are untying the knot in droves at the conclusion of the winter and summer holidays.

This study was conducted by Julie Brines, an associate professor of sociology at U of Washington, and her doctoral student, Brian Serafini. By analyzing data that was meant to extract information regarding the myriad of effects that follows a recession, the team discovered that between the years of 2001 and 2015 in Washington state, people filed for divorce most often in the months of March and August.

The Reasoning Behind the Divorce Findings

As with most pieces of data in the social sciences, these results are only useful if tied to an explanation. In a press release, Professor Brines suggested that it is the rise in expectations as the holidays approach that ultimately fails to match with the results of a fractured relationship.

“They represent periods in the year when there’s 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.

Ultimately, it would seem, the extra stress that marks the holidays only adds to the disappointment that the couple was unable to mend the fence, so to speak. As the winter holiday, in particular, draws to a close, they’ve generally made the decision to part ways and need to the next few months to arrange their finances in the expectation of post-marriage life – which is why divorces spike again in March, according to Brines’ reasoning. In assuming this, she’s relying on research done by experts on suicide – who suggest that so many suicides occur in spring because the elevated activity of the spring months pushes people to act.

Furthermore, various surveys on major legal websites and companionships sites such as and lend support to the divorce findings. Between the months of December and January, there’s a 50 percent increase in searches for terms such as “divorce,” “child custody,” and “family law.

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