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First come the holidays, then comes divorce

The holidays are a busy time of year for everyone, with all of the travel, planning for guests and shopping. Unfortunately, it’s also a precursor to increased activity in divorce courts.

Associate sociology professor Julie Brines and doctoral candidate Brian Serafini conducted a study last year that shows a consistent peak in divorce filings in March and August in Washington State.

They hypothesized that this pattern was because the winter and summer holidays preceded these two months. March is a few months after the holidays, but for many couples it takes time to get their finances and assets in order to be prepared for divorce proceedings.

Why do couples wait?

The reasons couples wait until these two months are myriad, as outlined by Brines and Serafini. Filing for divorce during the holidays may be considered inappropriate, and it’s an uncomfortable time to discuss divorce with your family. Some couples also use the holidays as a last effort to mend the relationship. If a couple has a good holiday together, maybe they can start anew or work through their problems.

Unfortunately, that optimism is often not met with a reality that helps bring the couple together. The holidays are stressful even when you aren’t considering a divorce, so that added stressor can cause more fissures in a marriage.

While this study focused on a state far from Ohio, it speaks to natural emotional and psychological desires we all share. “We can give it one last shot, and maybe it will get better” is a hope anyone could relate to when thinking of dissolving their marriage. And it’s no more comfortable to discuss divorce at an extended family dinner in Ohio than it is in Washington.

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