The summer is a time of family vacations, pool parties and fun in the sun. Kids are out of school and spouses typically take more time off work to spend quality time together. For some couples, though, the heat of summer pairs with the cooling of their relationship.
A University of Washington study found that divorces consistently spike during the months of March and August, with each spike resulting from a period of convenience placed between the rituals of the holidays.
“People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past,” Julie Brines, an associate sociology professor at the university, explains. “They represent periods in the year when there’s the anticipation or the opportunity for a new beginning, a new start, something different, a transition into a new period of life. It’s like an optimism cycle, in a sense.”
As the summer heads toward that month of August, spouses may feel an upswing in the cycle of optimism, but for some, it may be the final cycle. After disappointment during these last-ditch efforts to find the good in a marriage, the couples may try to file for divorce before the kids are back in school and the constant distraction of routine takes hold.
Still, most of the couples who follow this pattern are aware of their inclination toward, or even their intention for, divorce long before the end of the summer. Not all couples, however, act on those early thoughts, and they tend to suffer from a lack of preparation that culminates in a period of great stress.
Now, as the summer is just getting started, is the time to give real consideration to the future of your marriage. Though divorce may not be the option you’re ready to fully pursue yet, we recommend taking a few, simple steps to save grief later on.
- Consider counseling: With extra time available, the summer may be the best time for you and your spouse to try out family counseling. Getting help and advice from a kind expert who will do all they can to help you heal and grow into a stronger relationship is a valuable endeavor.
- Learn the basics of divorce: Divorce may not be as simple as expected, and that’s because it affects more than just the marriage itself. Child custody, living arrangements, division of property, alimony – these are all issues which must be resolved during the process. Most people don’t know the full extent of a divorce’s impact until it happens. Having a basic knowledge of the process will be your greatest tool moving forward smoothly.
- Talk it out: Having a chat with an understanding attorney, like our partners at RB&Y, can help you better process the issues you are dealing with and the plans you want to pursue. You can also talk to family members and friends who may have gone through a divorce themselves. Though challenging, discussing the potential for divorce with your spouse could also be beneficial to the both of you in understanding what each other wants from this process, as well as what you want. If you want, sit down and have a moment of self-reflection to “chat” with yourself about the situation. A conscious self-dialogue is important and often overlooked in its importance when facing a difficult and life-changing event like a divorce. Acknowledging the possibility of a divorce through conversation with any of these parties is one way to begin preparing yourself for it.
Though the rate of divorce does increase by the end of the summer, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend the next few months dreading the potential end of your marriage. Take that vacation with your family (if possible during the COVID-19 pandemic). Enjoy an afternoon by the pool. Play with your kids while they’re at home. Our partners will be here to help anytime you’re ready to start putting your thoughts together and getting prepared.
Learn more about who we are here. Want some more insight into the divorce process? Check out our blog posts on the topic, such as our overview on the divorce process in New Jersey, or get in touch with us. We understand the difficult situation you are facing and are prepared to help in any way we can. Thanks for reading.