Divorce Rates Peak during March and August

New research coming out of the University of Washington has discovered that divorce rates within the state increase dramatically during the months of March and August. While conducting the study, researchers looked at divorce records going back 15 years, beginning in 2001. The paper is among the first to look at divorce records in this light and makes several predictions as to why divorce rates follow this pattern.

Possible reasons for the peaking divorce rates include:

  1. The “broken promises” hypothesis: Going on a vacation, while intended to be fun and relaxing, can act to highlight existing problems in a relationship. Spouses who may already be on the verge of divorce can take a vacation as a way to give a marriage another chance. When things do not go as planned or when a trip does nothing to improve a relationship, it can give a spouse the evidence they need to end a marriage. The researchers also point out that more Americans vacation during the summer month of July than they do at any other time of the year.
  2. Stress from the holiday season: Family holidays have a way of causing emotions to boil over and can put incredible stress on a marriage. Spouses may find it especially difficult to breach the subject of divorce during the holiday season, instead electing to wait until the mid-year break to discuss the dissolution of their marriage. The period after February’s Valentine’s Day celebration can also be a time where couples become dissatisfied after reviewing their relationship. The period of time between Valentine’s Day and the holiday season beginning with thanksgiving matches up with the data presented in the study.

The paper is yet to undergo the process of peer-review, however, the study does include corroborating and anecdotal evidence which backs up the researcher’s theory. For example, the team found that internet search engine requests for terms such as “Divorce” and “Child custody” greatly increase in March. This suggests that the trends in divorce seen in Washington may also be present in the rest of the country.

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