A recent study at the University of Washington confirms what attorneys have long known: a huge number of people get divorced right after the holidays. Julie Brines and Brian Serafini, both sociology professors, analyzed divorce cases across the country, from all different age groups and states. They found that most marriages end after the summer or winter vacation seasons.
Very few couples get divorced during the holidays, but in early January the rate goes way up. The same trend appears during the summer months, when Americans appear to put off getting divorced until after July vacations.
Why Do So Many People Get Divorced After the Holidays?
While it’s easy to look at statistics and see when divorces happen, understanding the reasons is not so simple. The professors who conducted the study had some possible answers though. The holidays tend to be a sacred time in American culture. It can seem particularly cold to end a marriage during this season, when family and friends are close at hand. This might be part of why even a struggling marriage will endure for a few more weeks.
Prof. Brines also noted that people tend to be more optimistic during the holidays. Spirits rise and people feel connected. Often people will decide to give a marriage a final try for a big holiday vacation or get together. She suspects that the divorces follow when these hopes fail to live up to expectations.
Of course, only the couples themselves know the exact reasons behind their separation. The rationale for a divorce is unique to each person and family, but looking at the trends can provide insight into divorce, marriage and American culture.