Researchers believe they have found evidence that couples who get divorced do so in particular seasons.

A study by the University of Washington found two peak divorce periods each year – after the summer and winter holidays.

Figures from the US state of Washington from between 2001 and 2015 showed the pattern consistently, which lead the authors to suggest that winter and summer holidays are a culturally sensitive time to end marriages.

They also suggested that these are times where tensions are perhaps at their highest in relationships, as holidays bring pressures and added expectations.

Associate Professor of Sociology, Julie Brines, said when filing for divorce is considered inappropriate, even taboo. And troubled couples may see the holidays as a time to mend relationships and start anew: We’ll have a happy Christmas together as a family or take the kids for a nice camping trip, the thinking goes, and things will be better.

“People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past,” she said.

“They represent periods in the year when there’s the anticipation or the opportunity for a new beginning, a new start, something different, a transition into a new period of life. It’s like an optimism cycle, in a sense.

“They’re very symbolically charged moments in time for the culture.”

She suggests the lag of around two months between holidays and filing for divorce could be explained by couples  needing to get their finances together, get legal advice or even just summon up the courage to file for divorce.