Summer holidays. We all look forward to them.
For children they represent a not insignificant portion of their entire lifespan thus far, they have an air of boundlessness, of time spent timelessly, free from the confines of the classroom, a time for new experiences, for wonder.
For adults enjoying the summer holidays, there is both a nostalgia for the summer holidays of their own childhood and a vicarious thrill in being privy to the summer holiday experiences of their own children, while, practically, they also serve as an enjoyable and necessary interruption to the long attritional working and domestic days that make up the rest of the year.
They are also when we can spend time away from home, whether at home or abroad. In short, summer holidays, are, like in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, the realm of the magical and the wonderful, a time when it is possible to create life-long happy memories away from the mundane realities of everyday existence. Memories which can sustain us during the monotony of the working weeks and the long, cold months of winter.
However, not everyone's experience of the summer holidays is so idealised. For some, relaxation can give way to tension if a relationship is perhaps already being tested. In these cases, the holiday may initially be optimistically viewed as an opportunity to "get away from it all" to focus on each other and the family; as a chance to heal an ailing relationship. But the summer break seldom weaves such a magic spell.
Couples often invest so much in a holiday, both emotionally and financially, that if it doesn't live up to expectation, and becomes fraught with practical challenges – from planning problems to bad weather, delayed flights, thick traffic or substandard accommodation – this can serve to only further expose the fractures and fissures which are already placing strain on the relationship. For many in this situation, it proves to be all too much, and once home, the camel's back finally breaks. So, this is prime time to instruct divorce solictors and begin divorce proceedings.
It is the sad reality that some of these divorce petitioners may have already decided to separate and divorce, but are merely delaying proceedings until after the holiday to allow their children one final family holiday together with both parents, pre-separation. This too can pile on the pressure and emotional stress, with soon-to-be separated parents panicked into feeling that they must provide one final happy hurray before initiating the colder reality of instructing a divorce solicitor.
In fact, even parents who are not knowingly near the end of a relationship can find that the summer months place unexpected strain on their relationship. According to a University of Washington study, around a fifth of parents experience an increase in domestic arguments during the summer months, which in turn may lead them to becoming disillusioned with their relationship and to question its long-term viability in ways they have never done previously.
The same research shows that there is a clearly defined pattern of divorce peaks during the months of March and August. The peak in March relates to the accumulated stresses – emotional, financial, familial and, perhaps, climactic – of the Christmas period, while the August peak of course relates to the challenges and pressures of families spending so much time together over the summer holidays.
Whatever the time of year it's important that anyone considering or facing divorce receives the right legal advice as early as possible from an experienced family law lawyer. Too often, people rely on friends and internet forums for advice, which can often be incorrect or based on a person's own personal experience rather than on any legal knowledge.
Getting the wrong advice may set in train a series of events that lead to unnecessary complications or undesirable results; getting the right advice early on helps to ensure that informed choices can be made about which steps to take and this can make the difference between an uncontested and amicable divorce and one that is contentious and fraught with hostility.
Oratto's member divorce solicitors and are able to provide you with the family law advice and information you need quickly and sensitively. Talk to us today about your rights, your responsibilities and your options.
Contact Oratto on 0845 3883765 to speak with a family law adviser or use our contact form to arrange a call-back.