If you and your spouse started taking the first steps toward divorce last month, you're not alone. Sociologists have found that divorce filings peak twice a year -- following summer and winter vacations.

The reason for this is fairly simple. Couples who are having issues or who have grown apart see these vacations as a time to reconnect and relax. In the summer, this can mean a week at the beach, camping or even a trip abroad.

The Fantasy vs. the Reality of Summer Vacations

For overworked spouses and co-parents who feel like they only see each other coming and going or who may resent the other's lack of help with the kids or other responsibilities, this is a time to reconnect away from the commitments of work and home.

However, these vacations too often don't have the anticipated effect. In fact, being together in a hotel room or a Winnebago nearly 24/7 with your spouse may make you remember what annoys you about that person.

August is also a peak season for divorce because many parents want to begin the process before their kids begin the new school year, according to two University of Washington sociologists who studied this biannual divorce pattern.

Why Winter Vacations Often Don't "Fix" Marriages

There's a bit longer of a delay after winter family vacations, putting the other peak month for divorce filings in March, according to the sociologists, because couples don't have the deadline of a new school year looming for them. They may take more time to talk over the situation, find attorneys, get their finances in order and talk to their kids. However, the same factors apply to Christmas and winter breaks as to summer getaways.

Many couples think that spending more time together over the year-end holidays at what's supposed to be a joyous time, whether at home or away, will help improve their marriage. However, the stress of the holidays, dealing with relatives and simply being around your spouse more than you're used to can exacerbate whatever problems you hoped to smooth over.

If your summer vacation didn't bring a new start for your marriage as you'd hoped and you've made the decision to divorce, it's essential to talk with an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible to ensure you're making the necessary preparations that will help you get what you need for yourself and your children.