Those who are in a difficult marital situation but believe that they may have dodged a bullet, that is, a divorce or separation, over the past few months may need to think twice before breathing a sigh of relief.

This is because, for whatever reason, many people just decide not to file for divorce in the last three months of any calendar year. According to one study, which surveyed divorce filing trends in another state over more than a decade, the number of divorce filings goes down steadily starting in September until hitting a low point in December.

January’s numbers then spike sharply, returning to close to September levels. The number of divorce filings peak in March and come close to peaking again in August, but they pretty much remain at higher levels until the following September.

There may be any number of reasons for this trend. Perhaps the more obvious explanation is that couples just do not want to start a divorce over the winter holidays, as that would only add stress to any already busy time and would also upset any children they have, as well as other relatives.

It could, in short, put a real damper on one’s Thanksgiving, Christmas or other holiday plans.

Others have suggested that the trend could also be explained by the fact that holidays, and the summer vacation season, are times where struggling couples might make final efforts to work things out. The months with the highest number of filings represent the time right after a couple realizes that their efforts failed.

The bottom line is that Harrisonburg, Virginia, residents are more likely to face a divorce or separation in the upcoming months. Should that happen, they may need to have their questions and concerns about property division, child custody and the like addressed.