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Study finds spike in divorce filings twice a year

Georgia couples might be intrigued that sociologists at the University of Washington have concluded that divorce filings are seasonal. The researchers found a biannual pattern in what is thought to be the first measurable amount of evidence.

The researchers examined divorce filings from 2001 to 2015 in the state of Washington. They discovered a consistent spike in the submissions in August and March, which fall after summer and winter vacation periods. The pattern was persistent even after taking other factors into account, such as the housing market and unemployment. This suggests that there could be a domestic calendar that governs family behavior, especially since the sociologists also found that guardianship filings increased during the same periods.

From a cultural perspective, summer and winter breaks are sacred to families, so the majority of them consider filing for divorce during these periods to be inappropriate or taboo. Some spouses might use the holidays to start anew or try to mend their relationships. They might think that going on a nice family vacation will make everything better. However, holiday periods are stressful and emotionally charged for some families, which can expose problems in marriages.

The researchers speculate that many people file divorce petitions in August because they wait until after family summer vacations but want to get it out of the way before their children start school. They also speculate that unhappy spouses wait until March after winter holidays because they need some time to summon the courage to do it, organize their finances or choose an attorney. These are also factors in August, but the researchers think that school starting forces spouses to work faster.

No matter the month in which people decide to file for divorce, they could choose to negotiate all of their issues themselves or with the help of family law attorneys. However, only the court can issue a divorce decree after reviewing and approving the divorce settlement.

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Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
4799 Sugarloaf Pkwy
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Lawrenceville, GA 30044

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