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Family Law Blog

Divorce Filings Spike in March

Published: Mar 13, 2017 in Divorce

Written by Anthony Piccirilli

If you are considering filing for divorce in the next 30 days, you are not alone. March is one of the most common months for individuals to begin divorce proceedings. University of Washington Associate Professor Julie Brines and doctoral candidate Brian Serafini found divorce filings have a seasonal pattern. Brines and Serafini gathered and analyzed divorce filings made between 2001 and 2015 in the state of Washington. The data showed new divorce filings spike in March and August (right after the winter vacation and summer break). The same is likely true for around the country and right here in Pennsylvania.

If you want to move forward with a divorce, it is time to begin working with a compassionate and skilled Pittsburgh divorce attorney from Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC. Call us today at (412) 471-5100 to speak with an attorney and learn about your options.

UW Research Finds Divorce Filings Spike in March

The researchers believe the spike in divorce filings after significant vacation periods is no coincidence. Brine and Serafini think the timing of these divorces may follow domestic rituals, like spending Christmas or Hanukah together as a family or taking the kids on a summer vacation – since July is the most common month for American family vacations. They hypothesize that these are largely symbolic moments for couples already experiencing difficulties that may be followed by disappointment when expectations are not met.

“People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past,” Brines stated in the UW press release regarding the study. “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.”

Their conclusions are bolstered by the fact that the same pattern emerges when taking into consideration unemployment and housing market elements. Other family matters, like guardianship filings, followed the same seasonal pattern.

What About Divorce Filings Across the U.S.?

While the UW study focused on Washington, the researchers have reason to believe the seasonal pattern may extend across the country. After studying data from Ohio, Minnesota, Florida, and Arizona, Brines and Serafini saw the pattern of divorce filings spiking in March and August persisted.

Online search queries also support their findings. Nationwide, online searches for “divorce” and “child custody” increase drastically in March of every year.

Why Divorce Filings Are Delayed a Few Months After Vacations

The researchers speculate it takes individuals a few months to file for a divorce after a vacation for a number of reasons. First, making a final decision to end your marriage is difficult and understandably may take weeks or months. Once the paperwork is in the court system, a divorce goes from a theoretical option to a reality. Even if the decision is already made, individuals need time to gather the conviction to actually file. Second, it takes people time to organize their finances and contact an attorney. Filing for divorce is not something people can do immediately. It requires careful consideration and planning with an attorney’s advice.

Why March May be a Good Time to File

If you are considering filing for divorce, March may be a good time to do so. You have made it passed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentin’s Day. Unless you or your significant other have a birthday or anniversary, you are a long way from the next special holiday like the Fourth of July. This gives you and your kids time to get used to the divorce and new family dynamic before summer get-togethers and the next holiday season.

As of March, the children are still in school for a few more months. Though you will have to tell them that you and their other parent are divorcing, the kids will retain the stability of school for about three more months.

Additionally, by beginning the process in March, you and your spouse have time to work on a parenting plan for the summer. Once the kids are out of school, you and your spouse will need a summer-appropriate parenting plan that considers child care and transportation. You will also need to have discussed common summer plans like the kids going to camp, spending more time with friends, and vacations.

Call a Compassionate Pittsburgh Divorce Lawyer for Help

One of the major reasons people take months to make a final decision regarding divorce is that they want to find the right time to talk with their spouse about the decision, file the paperwork, and break the news to their children, family, and friends. Unfortunately, there is no perfect time to start a divorce. The right time is simply when you are ready to move forward toward a happier and healthier life.

If you are ready, call Anthony Piccirilli of Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC. He is ready to listen to your concerns, learn your goals for the future, and explain the next best steps.

Contact Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100 to schedule your initial consultation.