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Why do divorce filings spike in August?

The first working Monday of January has long been nicknamed “Divorce Day” among family law attorneys because of the number of people who find their way into law offices ready to file. The vast majority of new filers are couples who were just waiting until the holiday season was over before they split up.

However, there’s a second spike in divorce filings every year in August. In fact, some divorce attorneys say that’s their busiest month.

What’s so special about this time of year?

Just like the January spike, the August rush to file for divorce is prompted by social rhythms and cultural expectations. People may already be leaning heavily toward divorce when summer starts, but they don’t file until summer is almost over because:

  • Summer tends to involve a lot of “family togetherness,” especially if there are younger kids at home. That’s a great chance for bonding – but it also can put additional pressure on fractures in a marital relationship.
  • Sometimes the reasons couples wait out the summer and file for divorce when school starts back up are very similar to the reason they wait to file until after New Year’s Day: They don’t want their kids to think of summer as a terrible time by associating it with their parent’s divorce.
  • The fact that the kids are back in school also gives unhappy couples a chance to hash things out and freely discuss their feelings – something that’s harder to do when the kids are home all day. That can lead to clarifying insight that prompts the couple to finally take action.
  • Finally, some parents are just waiting until their youngest child finally leaves for college to split up. In these situations, the marriage has probably been heavily strained for years.

It’s never easy to decide to leave a marriage, but if you’re ready to move forward with your life, find out more about your legal options.