Among divorce lawyers, the time immediately following the holidays is a special time all its own…it’s often called “divorce season.”

Technically, it’s one of two seasons during the year when divorce rates tend to spike. A study that evaluated divorce statistics in the state of Washington found that divorces spike around March and August. Researchers theorize that couples often try to fix a troubled marriage over either the winter holidays or during summer vacation. When their hopes aren’t realized, their disillusionment allows them to finally take steps toward a divorce.

So, how can you tell if the countdown to the new year could also be the countdown on your marriage? Here are some signs:

1. Your marriage has been troubled for a long time

Most divorces don’t happen due to one big fight or a single incident. If your marriage has been struggling along for some time, the odds are good that you know it’s on life support.

2. You can’t remember why you are together

Maybe you like to sit by the fire and look at the lights on the tree while your spouse would rather attend five back-to-back holiday parties. Maybe you prefer to give well-considered gifts that are beautifully wrapped as tokens of your love, but your spouse rolls his or her eyes and wants to buy everyone a gift card. Either way, the realization seems to dawn on both of you at once that you don’t seem to be a good fit for each other.

3. Your taxes will provide the funds needed for your split

Many couples end up stuck together longer than they want to be because of finances. A healthy tax return, however, can often provide the funds that are necessary to pay filing fees, attorney fees and set up a new household.

If you’re ready to make a new start through a divorce, an attorney can help you understand more about the process.