If summer is "fling season" and winter is "cuffing season," than the months immediately following both could be considered "divorce season," according to new research from the University of Washington. Sociology professor Julie Brines and doctoral candidate Brian Serafini have unearthed what is now being considered the "first quantitative evidence of a seasonal, biannual pattern of filings for divorce," .
The duo analyzed divorce filings in Washington state between 2001 and 2015, finding that they peaked in March and August year after year—in the months immediately following the winter and summer holidays. These findings were mirrored in other states with similar divorce laws, including Ohio, Minnesota, Florida, and Arizona.
"People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past," explains . "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." Once these moments of hope and happiness fail to deliver on their promise of impending change, unhappy couples seem to turn to divorce in droves. August represents an ideal time period following the July festivities and before the kids start school, whereas March embodies the spirit of movement and change associated with early spring. While this initial finding is just one piece of a larger puzzle, it will be interesting to see whether or not other states continue to follow suit as further research unfolds.
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