The family team at Slater and Gordon have recently carried out some market research which has revealed that couples find the fifth year of marriage the hardest to overcome. Does this put the lie to the fabled “7-year itch”?
In fact, the seventh year appears to remain one of the hardest to get through, with many people describing it as a “wall”. If that wall can be scaled then it will lead in most cases to a long-lasting, happy marriage.
What the survey did find was how hard people find marriage and that they were surprised how much work needs to be put in after the initial warm glow of the wedding and all the attention that comes during the very early days wears off. Sooner or later, real life takes over and all sorts of issues come to the fore as couples start to really find out about each other. These range from money and Children, through to unbalanced sex drives and competing over household chores.
As a Family Law Solicitor, I generally meet people whose relationships have broken down for one reason or another. In the vast majority of cases the reasons for the breakdown of the marriage is largely irrelevant when considering the more important long term consequences of Divorce, such as arrangements over children and finances. The length of the marriage can be an important factor in working these arrangements out. For example, a short childless marriage of a couple of years or so is likely to see both parties return to their original financial positions (or as close as possible to that) with a “clean break” between them. Longer marriages, where there are children, will have very different financial outcomes. In such cases, needs, especially needs of children, will dominate the thinking and it may be much harder for couples to have an immediate financial separation.
It is often forgotten that marriage is a contract, so divorce brings that contract to an end. This is what leads to the need to consider how to divide everything that has built up during the marriage. It makes sense, then, that arrangements at the end of shorter marriages are often easier to resolve than for longer ones. Anyone who finds themselves in this position should seek legal advice so that they can understand the issues involved.
By Family Law Solicitor Ed Kitchen.