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Do Massachusetts divorce filings really spike after the holidays?

In what may or may not come as a surprise to Massachusetts couples, the choice of when it’s time to end their marriage may be strongly affected by the season. Sociologists analyzed data and determined that the number of divorce filings peaks consistently ever year after winter holidays. There are several theories as to the reasoning behind this “Divorce season.”

One psychiatrist theorizes that specific times during the year have a significant impact on individual’s behavior and, thus, on the decisions they make. Of course, in some cases, these are on a more personal basis, such as specific meaningful dates like the loss of a loved one or a particular anniversary. Even the weather can affect people’s moods and feelings and, in turn, their decision-making.

However, it is believed that one of the larger factors in this spike in divorce filings is the holidays, and the reasons are manifold. Many couples may simply feel that seasonal holidays are an inappropriate time to split up and that doing so may put a damper on both their own and others’ celebrations. Some may see Christmas as a time for optimism and new beginnings, a chance to attempt to mend their relationship, and so they put off separating for that reason.

For others, though, the holidays seem to have the opposite effect. The additional stress of the season can put extra tension on an already strained marriage, amplifying existing marital problems and pushing couples to a breaking point. Whatever the reason, it may provide divorcing Massachusetts couples some small sense of solace to know that they are not alone in their decision to divorce. Of course, every divorce is different and presents its own unique set of challenges, but with the guidance of an experienced family law attorney in the Worcester area, perhaps the next holiday season will be an altogether cheerier one.

Source:, “Is there a divorce season?“, Dec. 27, 2017


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