As we noted in a blog post earlier this week, the back-to-school season can be hectic for divorced parents, but a new study shows that it’s the summer months that can lead couples to split.

The report outlines three main factors that could increase the likelihood of a divorce, including:

  • Increased pressure of balancing work and childcare;
  • Financial stresses that accompany extra summer/childcare expenses;
  • A large increase in the amount of time spent together.

Katie Lammers, a Family Law Attorney in Minneapolis, said she notices a spike in inquires during the fall.

“I think family law is cyclical,” said Lammers. “It’s not uncommon for us to field an increase of calls in the fall and then again right after the winter holidays. I think the rise in the number of calls could be due to an increase in family time, but people also tend to want to wait until holidays are over before commencing divorce or mediation.”

According to Stowe Family Law, which provides legal services to families in Great Britain, 18 percent of parents reexamined their marriage at the end of the summer break. Additionally, a fifth of parents said they experienced an increase in arguments during the summer months.

Childcare Costs Cited

To further explore why more couples consider a divorce after the summer months, Stowe Family Law asked parents to fill out a questionnaire. Childcare costs were the greatest concern during the summer months, as nearly half of the parents said the extra cost put a financial burden on the family during this time period.

Lammers said childcare costs can be problematic during the summer, regardless of a person’s marital status.

“Childcare fees are definitely a sore spot for many couples, divorced or not.”

She later expanded on her comments:

“Typically in Minnesota, childcare costs are shared according to the parental income for determining child support percentage, or PICS percentage, which is essentially based on each parent’s income. So, if one parent is obligated to pay, say, 75% of the childcare costs, that can really be a financial hardship since it is not uncommon for these costs to be in the thousands of dollars per month. In Minnesota, caselaw has said that the parent with physical custody can decide where the child goes to daycare since daycare is a matter of “care and control” over the child. That is contrasted with where a child goes to school, which is a legal custody decision. Therefore, in a divorce or unmarried parent situation, one parent could easily be stuck paying daycare costs for a daycare that he or she does not agree the child should attend.”

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