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Study finds divorce is seasonal

Couples in Ohio and across the U.S. tend to divorce during certain times of the year, according to a study that was presented at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association. Researchers found that divorces consistently peak in March and August. The findings are believed to be the first quantitative evidence of seasonal divorce filings.

University of Washington sociologists studied the divorce patterns in 37 of the state's 39 counties. Two counties were excluded because they allow divorce filings by mail from anywhere in the state without a court hearing, which could skew the results. The researchers found that divorces spiked after the traditional summer and winter holidays. They believe that couples may stay together hoping that a summer vacation or a happy Christmas will mend their relationship. However, holidays can also be stressful for many families, and the authors of the study believe the strain plus disillusionment over an unhappy holiday can push couples to divorce.

The researchers theorize the reason divorces rise in March and August is because it takes a few months for people to financially and emotionally prepare themselves to file the paperwork. Initially, the aim of the study was to examine the way a recession effects marital stability, but the divorce pattern became clear as researchers pored over Washington's divorce records. The authors of the study are now examining the divorce records in Ohio, Minnesota, Florida and Arizona to see if there are similar seasonal patterns.

Individuals facing a divorce may benefit by contacting an attorney as soon as possible, particularly if significant assets are involved. Legal counsel could offer critical guidance and help negotiate agreements for complex asset division, including retirement accounts, pensions, business assets and offshore accounts.

Source: Science Daily, "Is divorce seasonal? Study shows biannual spike in divorce filings," Aug. 21, 2016

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