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Are Divorce Rates Increasing? Understanding the Reality of Divorce Second Busiest Time – September

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

September is considered the second busiest month for divorce filings. According to research, many couples wait until the end of summer to initiate the divorce process, making September a hectic period for divorce courts across the country. However, there's more to this picture than meets the eye. In this blog post, we'll explore the reality of divorce rates and the reasons behind why settlements are high during this time.

Are divorce rates increasing? While some studies may suggest this, it's crucial to note that this isn't the full story. Divorce rates, and marriage rates, have actually been on a gradual decline for the past two decades. There was a spike during the pandemic, which also raised the rate of divorce filings in September.

Why is September so busy for Divorces?

Back to school and life resumes its usual rhythm. Many couples try to make it through the summer to avoid disrupting the family's routine, only to realize that the time hasn't repaired their issues. Additionally, it's before the holiday season, so couples may feel that filing for divorce in September gives them ample time to get settled before the holidays begin.

Summertime Togetherness was too much. Similar to Covid togetherness, too much of a difficult things can make matters worse and highlight why couples do not or cannot be together any longer.

Summer Flings and Affairs. Monica Garcia Harms who chairs the family law department at Stein Sperling Bennett De Jong Driscoll PC points out that “Infidelity is one of the leading causes of divorce and the summer can bring out a roving eye. As a spouse may be realizing they are unsatisfied in their relationship, they may also be looking for someone else to fulfill their needs. A summer full of pools, beaches, and time outdoors that feels “freer” can lead to someone making a choice that ultimately leads to divorce.”

September is a New Year. In the United States school starts the end of August or beginning of September and this season of new beginnings is instilled in many adults. September is a time of change. So couples or individuals may find themselves wondering if now is a time to start over.

Overall timing from Most Popular Month/January. Meanwhile, other couples wait until the official New Year, after the holidays and as many divorces can take 9-18 months, the timing of divorce settlements often hits September. Meetings with lawyers and court dates get complicated during the summer as well, so many final issues are resolved at the end of the Summer or beginning of Fall.

Additional reasons Divorces peak in September. The Fall is often tied to financial considerations. Couples who have financial goals, such as selling the marital home and/or purchasing a home, may try to avoid disrupting their finances and credit before achieving them. Delaying a divorce until September enables them to sell or secure a home before their credit, income, and expenses face changes. This is especially the case because the divorce process entails dividing finances and assets.

Another factor to consider is that September is when most companies offer open enrollment for employee benefits. This time presents a strategic decision for those considering divorce because they can enroll in health insurance and other benefits before parting ways. This decision is especially pertinent for spouses who may not have access to affordable health insurance outside of their marriage.

While September has the general trend of the second busiest month for divorce filings, it doesn't mean that it's the best time for everyone. The time to get a divorce should be when it makes sense for you and your family. Talking with a divorce coach or financial consultant can help you navigate the process and decide the right path to take.

While September/Fall is the second busiest time for divorce filings, it's essential to consider all factors when deciding if this month makes the most sense for you. Ultimately, the most important thing is to approach the situation with a sense of clarity and the right resources to guide you through your divorce journey.


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