It has been known for some time that after the winter holidays, there is an uptick in divorce filings. Many people wait for the New Year, perhaps giving their children one last set of holiday gatherings with their family. But after those holidays, people reassess their situation and move on.
A recent university study has found that this increase in filings is mirrored in August. The researchers examined divorce records for counties in the state of Washington, noticed the February/March increase and were somewhat surprised to find a similar increase during August.
They had begun their research looking for the effect of economic activity on divorce, such as recessions or changes in the housing market, and they were not expecting to see apparently seasonal changes in divorce filings that are unaffected by other economic factors.
They even checked the numbers of guardianship and property claim filings in the courts to see if the seasonal variations affected all court filings or just those related to family law issues. The found that guardianship filings followed the same pattern as those of divorce cases, but that property filings were unaffected by the time of year.
It is not that surprising when you consider that August or the first week of September is often the beginning of the school year in many places. Many individuals with children may decide they want to make a clean break and not have to go through another school year with an unhappy marriage.
They may also want to get ahead of the holidays, knowing that once school starts, it will be very difficult to take any actions before the winter holidays have run their course.
The researchers looked at five other states and found similar patterns, so it may be likely that Missouri follows a similar pattern. While you can file at any time during the year, some times of the year may be more “convenient” and they simply make logistical sense.
If you have questions on divorce, the typical timeline or other procedural details, a family law attorney can provide helpful guidance and advice.