Divorce Rates Rise After the Holidays


January 2, 2020

The holiday season is a joyous time that brings families together to celebrate. However, once the holidays are over, there tends to be a spike in divorce filings. According to a University of Washington study, divorce rates consistently peak during March and August, once the summer and winter holidays have passed. If you are considering getting a divorce, it is best to start the process right away as the divorce could take a few months to become finalized.

The Season of Divorce

Researchers at the University of Washington study originally sought to examine the effects of the recession on marital stability. After examining divorce filings in Washington state from 2001 to 2015, they found that there is a seasonal, biannual pattern for divorce filings. According to the study, couples most often divorce in March, the month following the Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day holidays, and in August, the month following Memorial Day, Independence Day, and children’s summer vacation.

Why Does the Divorce Rate Spike After the Holidays?

The researchers found that the pattern of other family-related legal actions, such as guardianship filings, also peaked after the holidays, while other non-family related ones, such as property claims, did not. One of the study’s researchers explained that the holidays are culturally sacred times for families when they are more likely to face their relationship with a sense of optimism. They may see the holidays as a time to give the relationship one last chance, especially if there are children involved. There may also be other reasons for this biannual increase, including:

  • Financial constraints: Couples may be financially restrained during the holidays with the expenses of traveling, gifts, and parties. However, once the holidays are over and they have gotten their expenses in order, couples may be more likely to initiate divorce.
  • Keeping up appearances: Families often plan get-togethers and other special events during the holidays. Couples may want to keep up appearances for the sake of their children, other family members, and friends.
  • Holiday stress: Emotions run high during the holidays when schedules are hectic and families interact more than other times of the year. The stress associated with the holidays may highlight flaws in the marriage, leaving couples feeling disillusioned and ready for divorce.
  • New year reflections: At the start of the new year, people often take the time to reflect on their life and their future. Couples may decide that marriage is something they do not want to continue going forward.

South Jersey Divorce Lawyers at Stockton Family Law Protect Clients’ Rights in Divorce

If you are considering filing for divorce after the holidays, contact a South Jersey divorce lawyer at Stockton Family Law. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys will ensure that your rights are protected and your interests are represented. For an initial consultation, complete our online contact form or call us at 856-412-5052. Located in Moorestown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Mount Laurel, Burlington County, and Camden County.

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