Tuesday 23 July, 2019

Two months most favourable for divorce

If you are married, you might want to work extra hard in certain months so to maintain your marital status.

According to researchers from the University of Washington, there are two months of the year that seem more favourable for divorce.

Associate sociology professor Julie Brines and doctoral candidate Brian Serafini found what is believed to be the first quantitative evidence of a seasonal, biannual pattern of filings for divorce.

The researchers analysed filings in Washington state between 2001 and 2015 and found that they consistently peaked in March and August, the periods following winter and summer holidays.

Their research, presented in 2016 at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Seattle, suggests that divorce filings may be driven by a “domestic ritual” calendar governing family behaviour.

 “People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past,” Brines said.

“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. It’s like an optimism cycle, in a sense. They’re very symbolically charged moments in time for the culture.”

Holidays are also emotionally charged and stressful for many couples and can expose fissures in a marriage. The consistent pattern in filings, the researchers believe, reflects the disillusionment unhappy spouses feel when the holidays don’t live up to expectations.

They may decide to file for divorce in August, following the family vacation and before the kids start school. But what explains the spike in March, several months after the winter holidays?

Couples need time to get finances in order, find an attorney or simply summon the courage to file for divorce, Brines suggests. Though the same considerations apply in summer, Brines thinks the start of the school year school may hasten the timing, at least for couples with children.

The divorce filing pattern shifted somewhat during the recession, showing a peak earlier in the year and one in the fall, and more volatility overall. Given the uncertainty about financial considerations like housing values and employment, Brines said, it’s not surprising the pattern was disrupted. But the shift in the pattern during the recession is not statistically significant, she said.

 

 

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