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Is your decision to divorce a seasonal trend?

The winter holidays are special for many people. It’s a time to go ice skating, drink hot cocoa, build snowmen and … decide to get divorced?

While the holidays may seem to represent familial unity, it can often be the final straw for couples who are already experiencing marital stress. If you are considering divorce during this time of year, research indicates you are likely not alone.

Julie Brines and Brian Serafini of the University of Washington conducted a study that indicates divorce experiences two biannual spikes, one of which is in March. While that may not seem associated with the winter holidays, their research indicates that for many couples it takes time to get their finances in order, find representation or even work up the courage to make the final decision to end the marriage.

Hope can result in disappointment

Why do the holidays result in divorce? Many couples hope that by having a peaceful holiday, they can mend their relationship and start over again on better footing. The holidays are also seen as a “sacred” time for family and divorcing during this season is taboo.

While that hope for a happy holiday is driven by good intentions, this season is stressful for any couple. Sometimes putting that pressure on the marriage can have the opposite effect couples want.

Making the decision

If after this season you are thinking of divorce, there are certain requirements you and your spouse will need to meet. No-fault divorce is an option in Pennsylvania, but it does include mandatory waiting periods. These waiting periods may also be a factor in why post-holiday divorces take until March.

If this season is the final stressor on your marriage, know that you are not alone. Many couples get through these winter months hoping they can make it work and find they can’t. It is normal to have hope and find that reality didn’t meet your expectations. You can still have a happy winter season post-divorce.

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