“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh and a time to search and a time to give up,” a bible verse reads.
According to new research from the University of Washington, there might actually be a season for divorce, peaking twice a year — after winter and summer holidays, in what is believed to be the first quantitative evidence.
A professor from the university Julie Brines and doctoral candidate, Brian Serafini, presented their research on August 21 at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Seattle, suggesting that divorce filings may be driven by a “domestic ritual” calendar governing family behaviour.
Brines says troubled couples may see the holidays as a time to mend relationships and start afresh. “We’ll have a happy vacation together as a family or take the kids for a nice trip, the thinking goes, and things will be better,” so they think.
But what happens when the holidays fail to meet their expectations?
The consistent pattern in filings, the researchers believe, reflects the disillusionment unhappy spouses feel when the holidays don’t live up to expectations. That’s when they file for divorce.
But what explains the spike in March?
Couples need time to get finances in order, find an attorney or simply summon the courage to file for divorce, Brines suggests. Though the same considerations apply in winter, Brines thinks the start of the school year school may hasten the timing, at least for couples with children.
Do you agree with the study?
Note: This is an American study, seasons were changed to South African times.