Proudly representing clients in family law and criminal defense matters since 1975.

Why UW researchers say divorce filings spike during these two months

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2024 | Divorce

Each couple that is heading into divorce needs to decide the best time to file and begin the process. In some cases, of course, only one spouse is ready to end the marriage, so they determine when it happens.

There’s no “best” time of year to do it. You may have heard that most divorce filings occur at the beginning of the year, because it’s after the holiday gatherings and a time when many people want to start fresh.

You may be surprised to learn that sociologists at the University of Washington (UW) have found that the two months of the year in which divorce filings spike most significantly are March and August. Why is that?

What is it about March?

Many couples recommit to trying to make their marriage work at the beginning of the year rather than start to plan for divorce. That’s followed closely behind by Valentine’s Day when people are inundated by ads with happy couples and real-life engagements.

Even if that New Year’s commitment to their marriage isn’t working, they may get swept up in the romance of the season – or want to keep the appearance of a happy couple through the holiday. By the time March rolls around, one or both may have made the decision to divorce.

It’s also possible that those who decide to divorce in January simply need time to execute their actual filing and it doesn’t actually show up on a court’s radar until March.

What about August?

Couples with children often don’t want to “ruin” their kids’ summer. They may already have a vacation planned. Some want one last family summer getaway. By August, as they’re preparing to send their kids back to school, they’ve decided to move forward with divorce.

It should be noted that both of these months follow times when families are generally together. People take time off work and are home more with their spouses. That can often make a bad situation worse – especially if there were high expectations for it “restarting” a marriage.

While many people file for divorce during the other ten months of the year, it can help to know what it is about these two months that causes divorce filings to rise because it shows what kind of expectations couples (and maybe their families or society in general) places on them.

While looking at the calendar is always a good idea, remember that it’s wise to be sure you have your finances in order and have established your goals for divorce before you file. Getting experienced legal guidance early on – even if you later change your mind about pursuing divorce – can help to empower you to make truly informed choices about your rights and options.