Tis The Season for Divorce (and Dispute Resolution)? Why More Marriages end in August

divorce august

Are there “Seasons” for Divorce?

Vacations, outdoor events, the beginning of a new school year – for many, August is synonymous with family time. But for some, this month marked the season for divorce.

Research from the University of Washington found the number of divorce filings in a number of states consistently peaked in the months of August and March. What’s behind the seasonal up-tick? Several factors could be at play.  “Rather than a time of bonding, the holidays and vacation periods can often lead to disappointment as couples and families discover that increased time together may exacerbate existing problems rather than help mend them,” Anne Tamar-Mattis, attorney and Executive Director of the IACP said.

Tamar-Mattis is the Executive Director of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), a global membership-based organization that aims to keep these divorcing couples and their children out of court by using Collaborative Law.

Collaborative Practice, Divorcing Differently.

Unlike traditional divorce, Collaborative Practice gives couples more control over the outcome of their separation. Rather than having a judge decide the family’s future through litigation, Collaborative Practice allows couples to make flexible agreements that address the financial, psychological and legal aspects of divorce. In addition to sometimes being less expensive than traditional divorce, Collaborative Divorce takes the entire family into account.

“Moms and dads can’t divorce, husbands and wives do, and that is one big difference.  Traditional divorce is all about the settlement, whereas Collaborative is about durable agreements that say this is an agreement that’s going to be okay in five months, in five years, in fifteen years. In traditional law, you’re not going to find that,” Anne Lucas, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and member of King Collaborative Law in Seattle said.

In Collaborative Law, both parties are represented by a lawyer.  Depending on the  family’s needs, other consultants can be part of the Collaborative Law Process such as  a financial neutral, mental health, real estate or other professional.  These jointly retained specialists help couples navigate divorce  and negotiate solutions that are mutually beneficial. The Collaborative Law process is a popular alternative for those who don’t want the details of their divorce to be made public as Collaborative Law is a confidential out of court settlement process.  This client-focused method is becoming increasingly popular with divorce attorneys who want to help make divorce less contentious and painful for families.

“My parents divorced when I was about five years old and I’m the son of a family lawyer. I’ve seen how divorce affects families and the effects it has on attorneys as well. So when I came to law school and I decided to go into family law, I wanted to do it in a different way. I know that there are situations where litigation is necessary, or it may be the best way to go for a particular client. But I also know that there are better solutions out there, there are better ways to do it,” Chris Farish, IACP President, and collaborative lawyer at Quaid Farish, LLC. in Dallas said. Farish now presides over the Board of Directors of the IACP. The organization boasts thousands of practitioners from 25 countries and 6 continents, each of whom is working to transform the way families around the world resolve conflict. For more information about Collaborative Law check out this short video from IACP.

Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that August and March are not the only “seasons” of divorce; learning about all your options is important before moving forward regardless of the time of year. Attorney Karen J. Levitt, a former board member of the International Academy of Collaborative Practitioners, and one of the founders and a past President of the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council, was an early adopter of Collaborative Law and Mediation as ways to help clients settle out of court by agreement rather than get mired in contentious litigation.  When you are your family are facing divorce, talk with us about Collaborative Law and Mediation as alternatives to litigation.