Divorce rates increase at the end of the summer. Here are 6 reasons why.

Divorce rates increase at the end of the summer. Here are 6 reasons why.

BI_Graphics_9 facts about divorce 10

Yu Han/Business Insider

Divorce rates increase in August.

  • Divorce rates consistently peak in August, and Business Insider spoke with several experts to find out why.
  • Couples think summer will help them rekindle their relationship, but the extra bonding time only emphasizes marital problems.
  • The end of summer is also perfect timing for a divorce because most family vacations are over and it's far away enough from the holidays.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

August not only spells the end of summer but also the end of many marriages.

According to a study out of the University of Washington, divorce rates consistently peak toward the end of the summer, specifically in August.

In fact, Chris Farish, a Dallas-based attorney and president of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, said he sees more clients coming into his office in August than any other month.

"I also find that clients who might have consulted with me in the spring or even the fall of the prior year, seem to come back in August ready to proceed," Farish told Business Insider.


Business Insider spoke with other experts to find out why people are filing for divorce when the summer comes to an end.

Firstly, couples think the summer break will fix their marriage, but they ultimately end up disappointed.

Summer is a time to restart after the cold winter months. For couples who have had marital problems throughout the year, they see summer as a break from those problems and as an opportunity to rekindle their love.

Lori Gephart, a licensed psychologist and family mediator, said couples also view summer as the beginning of a new chapter.

"Many people may have been holding out hope that the more relaxed pace of summer break and summer vacations would help to mend their relationship," Gephart said. "Instead [they] may feel disappointed and disillusioned with the marriage when patterns haven't changed."

Unfortunately, the problems that were there at the beginning of the summer are still there at the end, leaving many disappointed and looking to divorce.


Summer can also highlight problems in a marriage because there's an added emphasis on family bonding.

Marital problems can often get overshadowed by the routine of everyday life. For couples with children, this is especially true. But when school is let out, the routine changes and then there's a shift towards family bonding.

"During the school year, we tend to fall into the pattern of get up, feed the kids, take the kids to school, go to work, come home, cook dinner, do homework, and go to bed," Farish said. "When the kids get out of school, that pattern is disrupted. It causes parents to look around and wonder what they are doing. You couple that with more time spent together as a family, and the fragile ties that hold a marriage together can sometimes fray and snap."

Children go off to college in August, leaving many with empty nest syndrome.

In August, married couples often send their children off to college, leaving some couples as empty nesters. Their newly empty homes sometimes prompt couples to re-evaluate their marriage.

Farish said he had one client who waited 10 years for her last child to leave for college before divorcing her husband.

"As soon as they dropped the child off at the dorm, all she could think about the whole ride home was filing for the divorce," he told Business Insider.


Read more: How the divorce rate has changed over the last 150 years

Some couples wait out the summer to give their family one last memory.

Many couples don't like to break the news to their children during the school year because divorce often means uprooting their lives. Instead, couples try to wait till the end of the school year, but then they push it back because they made plans and booked family vacations.

"It can feel overwhelming to think about the details of moving, either for yourself or moving your spouse out and the million little details that fly through one's mind as they think about divorce. So they will wait," Anne Lucas, clinical director of the Evergreen Clinic, told Business Insider. "And then school is about to end but we have made all these plans - and often paid for them - to vacation and visit with extended family members or attend the annual gathering of friends at a beach house or just the social obligations that come with summer."

August gives children enough time to adjust to the divorce before the holiday season.

Divorce can be hard on children, especially during the holiday season in November and December. Gephart said some couples decide to divorce in August because it's easier on the kids.

"There may be a feeling of urgency to end the marriage in advance of the holiday season so that children have time to adjust before the holidays," Gephart said.


Lastly, people are more likely to meet someone new in the summer.

One of the most common causes of divorce is infidelity, and the summer may inspire a wandering eye, according to Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus, the clinical director of Maze Women's Sexual Health.

"In the summer we tend to be much more playful. I think because the days are longer and because we can go outside, we are willing to try and be playful," Marcus told Business Insider's Sam Rega. "You take off that coat and you take off the long pants and all of a sudden you're wearing a bathing suit or a t-shirt. Having less clothes really does make you more aware of your body and the body of the person next to you. "