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Lawyers Should Prepare for Two Seasonal Divorce Spikes

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on August 23, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Are you a family lawyer that handles divorces? If so, the findings that were presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association may be of interest of you. Apparently, divorce could have a correlation with the seasons.

It's old news that divorces spike after the winter holidays. But the new findings indicate that there may be a second seasonal spike.

Seasonality and Human Behavior

Theories that link the seasons with human behavior have been proposed and studied for years. In the past, sociologists have directed most of their efforts toward issues such as violent crimes, suicide, and when to get pregnant. Always looking for an edge, traders in the equity markets have also poured over data spreadsheets to divine seasonal behavior trends.

March and August: A Time to Split

It seems that divorce could be subject to seasonal effects, too. A sociology professor and a doctoral candidate from the University of Washington presented what they believe to be the first biannual patterns of divorce filings. Looking at data between 2001 and 2015 from Washington State, the pair found divorce filings spiked in March and in August. Beyond Washington, it turns out that Ohio, Minnesota, Florida, and Arizona also saw similar divorce application patterns.

Like any good scientist would do, the researchers tried to find a possible reason for the patterns. Their theory goes something like this: A couple whose marriage was already in trouble decide to give their relationship another try by going on a summer vacation. Things don't pan out -- and that's the final straw. Soon, a dissolution is filed.

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

As cynical as this sounds, this means divorce lawyers ought to redouble their marketing efforts during the months preceding March and August just so that the lawyer's name is in the back of the potential client's minds when a lawyer is needed.

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