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Couples may be more likely to split in certain seasons

Minnesotans who file for divorce in the months of March and August may be surprised to learn that they're part of a larger prevailing trend. According to research out of the University of Washington, these periods exhibited consistent spikes in divorce filings between 2001 and 2015. Sociologists said that even though their study assessed divorce motions in different regions of Washington state and among a variety of demographic cross sections, the seasonal trends remained strong enough to be noteworthy.

The scientists who initially noticed the divorce patterns weren't actually on the hunt for them. Their original goal involved learning about the impacts of economic recessions, but after looking at records pertaining to real estate values, unemployment and other factors, they observed that divorce rates rose after winter and summer breaks.

Experts say that factors like cultural taboos against filing for divorce during an actual holiday and the oncoming resumption of school might impact the increased divorce statistics. One piece of evidence supporting the idea that holiday schedules played a role was the fact that filings for guardianship followed the same general trends as divorce motions, but filings for actions like property claims didn't fall in line. The researchers also discovered similar phenomena in counties where it was easier to file for divorce, which further cemented the idea that holiday rituals were the dominant factor.

Although every divorce case is uniquely personal, research indicates that many external factors play a role in how and when people file. The way a couple plans and manages a separation or divorce impacts how easily each person will be able to adhere to property division, custody and support agreements. Spouses who want to avoid future disputes might benefit from consulting with an attorney who can help them plan ahead.

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