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Study Shows Divorce Filings Jump in March

by Michael Heath

In a University of Washington study conducted by associate professor Julie Brines and doctoral candidate Brian Serafini, it was discovered that over a fourteen-year period divorce filing spiked consistently in the months of March and August. It is expected that the end of summer increase was due in large part to people waiting until completing family vacations while desiring to file prior to the start of the new school year. The March jump up in divorce filing seems to have more varied reasons.

Is January Really Divorce Month?

The prevailing assumption has been that December is the slowest divorce month while January is the busiest. It would be hard to find a matrimonial attorney or divorce mediator who would disagree that the year ending holidays mark a downturn in activity. Few spouses want to spoil the festive season by filing for divorce, so they hold off until just after the beginning of the new year to file. There is also a tax advantage in being married on December 31 instead of having to check the box off as unmarried, divorced, or legally separated.

It is true that lawyers report a flood of calls in the first few weeks of the year. However, divorce filings can take weeks or months to prepare. In addition, divorce lawyers are often so busy that clients must wait weeks for an appointment. These delays can push filings further into the calendar year.

March Is for Divorces

There are suspected other reasons attributing to the March uptick in divorce filings. Divorce is expensive so it is believed that many wait for their tax return refund before retaining a lawyer. Others surmise that people tend to avoid filing in early February since that is when Valentine’s Day falls; the season of romance could be an uncomfortable time to start the process. It is also suggested that better weather reenergizes some unhappy spouses to the point they are finally able to take the big step.

Divorce Is a Tragedy

When people break up their marriage, they end what was expected to be something beautiful. There really is no good time to divorce and in most cases couples should seek marriage counseling to save it. The grass may seem greener, but that may be only because it’s springtime.

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