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Does interest in divorce really increase in January?

Many people know that divorce has its seasons. Married couples go through certain times of statistically higher chance of divorce and other times when the chance is lower. Divorce keeps a calendar, it seems.

Of course, every couple's marriage is so much more than some blip in the divorce statistics. And yet, patterns in divorce's schedule do appear in the census and other data.

Month of the year is probably not a real issue

January may seem like an appropriate month for divorce filings to spike. After all, its name comes from the ancient Roman god of transitions, with his sights fixed on both the past and the future at the same time.

But a study by researchers at the University of Washington suggests divorce filings peak in March and again in August. A more recent New York Times article points out that searches for "divorce" show peaks all over the calendar, as judged from Google Trends. July and November seem to be popular months.

Then why, just after New Year's Day, can we count on seeing news articles claiming that divorce attorneys call January by the nickname "divorce month"?

Although some attorneys may get more calls about divorce in January, almost everybody gets more calls about everything in January. The reason may be that people just wait to schedule important things until after the holidays.

Year of marriage is a little more meaningful

A much more interesting (and possibly useful) way to see divorce as keeping time is by year after marriage.

Many studies suggest the general rate of divorces quickly increases starting not long after the wedding and reaches a peak somewhere around the fourth to the ninth year of marriage. (The fictional "seven-year itch" may have its roots there.) The rate drops off after that.

The reasons are varied and complex, from introducing children into the relationship to career stresses in people's early 30s and many more.

An article from the Huffington Post encourages couples to try to weather those years around the seven-year mark, offering helpful suggestions for communicating and keeping a sense of perspective.

Whatever works, or even if it does not work and divorce seems to be the best option, it may help to know that the facts are in, and that stretch of years truly can be a challenging time to stay married.

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