With the holiday season ending and the start of a New Year, many family law practices are readying themselves for a strange phenomenon that occurs every year in March, and again in August. As strange as it may sound, there is an obvious increase in the number of divorces that are filed during those months, immediately after the winter holidays and summer vacation seasons.

Though there are some who believe that it’s a myth, there is scientific evidence that more people divorce after the holidays than at any other time of year. A study conducted at the University of Washington was recently highlighted at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, where researchers Julie Brines and Brian Serafini presented their evidence based on the state of Washington, where they are located, as well as data from the states of Ohio, Minnesota, Florida and Arizona. Though the scientists weren’t sure what to expect and wondered if it was a myth that divorce rates spike after vacation time, Ms. Brines said that what they found was unmistakable. “It was very robust from year to year, and very robust across all counties.”

In analyzing the evidence, the researchers have advanced a theory that makes a lot of sense. They believe that when families go on vacation or celebrate the holidays, it can bring into sharp focus the various conflicts and tensions that are present throughout the year. Couples anticipate going on vacation or celebrating with family as a time to mend relationships and smooth over problems that have been brewing. Instead of finding that their problems are solved, the added stress of being together for more extended periods, holiday and vacation expenses and other conflicts become even more pronounced. When you combine these factors with the heightened expectations and hopes of resolution, the letdown and disappointment can lead to giving up and filing for divorce.

Speaking of this dynamic, Brines says, “People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past. They represent periods in the year when there’s the anticipation or the opportunity for a new beginning, a new start, something different, a transition into a new period of life.”

If the holidays have found you ready to file for divorce, or facing a request for a divorce from your spouse, you need compassionate legal representation. Contact the professionals at Reinherz Law to learn more about how we can help.