Why divorce spikes in August and March

The authors speculate that unhappily married couples schedule their divorce filings around both the winter holidays and Valentine’s Day, as well as summer vacations. (More Americans vacation in July than any other month.)

There are a few explanations why people might time their marital dissolutions this way. It might just be too difficult to announce a divorce around family-oriented Christmas time, especially if there are kids involved.

But the authors think the more likely reason is that people decide their differences are irreconcilable right after a big trip. It could be that people don’t want to ruin a family getaway, or that vacations are so stressful they drive the already-dissatisfied to divorce. (“I told you to pack your suitcase last night; now we’ve missed the train!”)

Then there’s the “broken promise” hypothesis. “People are discontent with their marriages, they look at vacation as an opportunity to give it one last shot, and what they were hoping would happen didn’t occur,” explained Brines, an associate professor of sociology.