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Sociologists identify seasonal divorce trend

The number of couples filing for divorce in Maryland and around the country may follow a pattern, according to two sociologists. The scientists analyzed divorce data from Washington state, and they found that couples tended to file for divorce far more often in March and August. The results of the study were published on Aug. 21 and will be presented to the American Sociological Association during the organization's annual meeting in Seattle.

The sociologists behind the study put the rate of divorces largely down to cultural pressures. They say that the hottest and coldest seasons of the year are the times that families traditionally get together and take vacations, and they speculate that many unhappy spouses wait until these festive periods are safely behind them before taking steps to end their marriages. The study also concludes that unhappy spouses may sometimes see family vacations as final opportunities to repair their relationships and avoid divorce.

The authors of the study were conducting research into how the recession and its associated economic fallout had impacted divorce rates in the Pacific Northwest, and they say that they were surprised to find that the time of year seemed to influence the decisions of couples more than the unemployment or inflation rates. The sociologists also point out that the seasonal trends they identified were still evident even after economic peaks and troughs had been factored into their equations.

Experienced family law attorneys will likely have encountered clients who wish to end unhappy marriages but are reluctant to take the first step, and they may encourage them to focus on their hopes for the future rather than spending their time dwelling on the mistakes of the past. Attorneys may also take this time to explain some of the pitfalls of the divorce process and the importance of being adequately prepared for property division and spousal support negotiations.

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