Holiday's over - so is your marriage

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The Independent Online
The holiday is over, it's time to go back to work ... and consult your lawyer about dissolving your marriage.

Spending a break with a partner is too much for many couples to bear, and September sees a dramatic rise in the number of people contemplating divorce.

Family law firms are expected to deal with more than 20,000 people seeking divorce or separation over the next two weeks, double the average for the rest of the year.

Too many long summer days spent in one another's company, together with fractious children and rising temperatures, make thousands of husbands and wives realise they no longer love and cherish their spouses.

Those used to rubbing along well with their partner when they spend only a few hours with them, and the rest earning a living, find they cannot abide one another for 24 hours a day.

"I've had clients come in saying that the holiday was the last straw - they can't stand him anymore and they want a divorce," says Mark Harper, a London lawyer and spokesman for the Solicitors Family Law Association. "In my experience, in the first two weeks of September, especially after the schools go back, we see twice as many people as usual."

Around 350,000 people are involved in divorce or separation proceedings each year, an average of around 7,000 new cases a week. This September, the weekly workload is expected to increase to around 13,000.

Birkenhead solicitor Kate Harley says: "Some people spend more time with their spouse on holiday than they do the rest of the year and realise they have much less in common than they thought. If there are cracks in the relationship, it is then they realise that it is the end of the road which is why we are getting an increase in clients."

Dr Charles Lewis, reader in human social development at Lancaster University, says: "This time of year is very bad for separations. You can drift along in a meaningless relationship and you then get thrown together at holiday times and it is simply a recipe for disaster."

If you do manage to stay together, so much the better - the next flashpoint is Christmas.