One last chance: summer holidays and relationships

This summer, thousands of couples will set out on their holidays with one sole aim - to give their relationship one last chance. They pin their hopes on a combination of a new location, sunshine, relaxation and time together to help heal rifts that may have developed over months, maybe even years.

In our experience as family lawyers, holidays are rarely successful in bringing couples together again if deep rifts have been there for a while. Indeed, two weeks in each other’s company 24/7 can cement a couple’s decision to separate.


Everyday life daily contact

One of the main reasons holidays speed up a decision to split is that in everyday lives, couples rarely spend all their waking hours together.

  • Many home-based employees are returning to the office on a hybrid basis, if not actually full-time.
  • Individual hobbies, interests and separate groups of friends may see couples out solo several times a week. According to the ONS, in 2018, British people spent 29% of their leisure time alone.
  • Couples with children probably spend less time together than those without children. One may be driving a child to sports training with another heading to a dance class. One may be bathing the kids whilst the other prepares dinner, and so on.


Shared space, no solo time

Holidays suddenly push families and couples together into a single space for days on end, be it a tent, holiday cottage, hotel suite, or luxury cruise cabin.

  • For couples, there will be the ‘social norm’ pressure to do things together and enjoy every minute.
  • For families, the expectation is to have fun together all day long. Or if children want to join organised activities, this in turn leave their parents with more time together.

The result is a lot of close proximity that is not echoed in everyday life. Tensions that could be diffused by time alone at home can build quickly in the summer heat, potentially fuelled by the accessibility of alcohol and examples of seemingly “perfect couples” everywhere they turn.


Delays and queues

To add to the pressure, holidays abroad this year will inevitably involve longer travelling times.

The result is additional stress - and extra fuel for arguments.

Holiday bah-humbugs

We would state right here that we are not saying don’t go on holiday this year if your relationship is strained! We all need a break away from everyday life to rest, recharge and restore our own equilibrium. The time away from work pressures may be just enough to allow you both to talk through issues, and see the relationship wood rather than the argument trees.


September divorce enquiries

Having said that, every year, we see a big surge in divorce enquiries from couples who have come back from holidays and realised that nothing has changed. Life will continue as it was before unless action is taken.

Many want to talk through their individual circumstances with a family lawyer at this point, to understand how separation and divorce will affect their family, their finances and their future.

At LGFL, we offer a 1 hour reduced fee consultation for this very reason. People need time to feel comfortable to talk about what’s really concerning them, and for us to discuss options.

These clients choose to invest in 60 minutes of legal assessment and advice rather than experience the frustration of a much shorter free consultation with another family law firm that might leave them with more questions than answers.


No fault divorce is not a quickie divorce

Many clients who have returned from holidays with the decision to split want it to happen quickly, so that it’s “done by Christmas”. Like every major decision in life, a divorce should not be rushed or done in the heat of anger.

The timescale of the new no-fault divorce is designed to allow for two periods of reflection:

  • A 20-week wait for the issue of a Conditional Order (formerly known as the Decree Nisi)
  • An additional 6-week wait for the issue of Final Order (formerly known as the Decree Absolute)

This means that a divorce takes at least 26 weeks minimum, plus any additional time required for drawing up and agreeing a financial settlement and child arrangements.


Post-holiday separation advice

If you have decided that your relationship has ended and you want to separate, talk to us on your return. You can call to book a reduced fee appointment either in person at our discreet offices or via Zoom. We can then advise you on the next steps so that your divorce is underway before Christmas.

Many clients find that once the decision is made and the first steps taken, this enables them to move forward and start to plan for their future, and that of their children too.

To book a reduced fee appointment:

- Call us

- Email us

- Request your appointment online