Couples embarking on ‘make-or-break' holidays are more likely to split up than stay together, a report revealed yesterday.
Instead of salvaging a floundering relationship six out of ten couples who booked a break amid a rough patch have found that it didn’t work, while nearly one in ten said that it prompted their divorce.
A survey of 2,128 married and divorced Brits by family law firm Slater and Gordon revealed that despite getting away from every day pressures, ‘make or break’ holidays often actually caused couples to argue more.
Nearly one in five said that watching other happy couples enjoying their holiday put their own relationship under the spotlight.
The report also revealed that September was the most common month for people to consider divorce with lawyers referring to the increase in calls as the end of the ‘summer ceasefire’ between warring couples.
The survey revealed that going on a summer holiday is often the last ditch attempt for many couples in crisis before heading to the divorce courts.
Head of Family Law at Slater and Gordon Amanda McAlister said, “While a holiday away can seem like a good idea, the pressure of spending time together can cause more problems. Many couples experiencing trouble in their relationship will hope that time away from the stresses and strains of everyday life will solve their issues.
“In a lot of cases the problem is more fundamental and will not be resolved with a few weeks in the sun. Every year we see a marked increase in the number of couples who return from a holiday and seek legal advice on divorce. But it’s important not to make rash decisions in the heat of the moment. Divorce is a major step.”
Almost a third of Brits believed a holiday was a key test for a struggling relationship with nearly 40% admitting having gone on a holiday in an attempt to breathe new life into their marriage.
Many couples thought it would be a good opportunity to connect or would give them a chance to escape the pressures of day to day life and help them fall back in love. But in reality, hopes of reigniting their love quickly faded, with 40% of Brits thinking that holidays put a strain on their relationship and 28% of Brits claimed they split up with someone on holiday.
The pressure of spending time alone together on a holiday proved to be the catalyst for 15 per cent of struggling couples to realise they weren’t in love, and the same proportion stopped talking to each other during the trip away.
One in twenty holidaying couples used the break to discuss getting a divorce.
Nearly one in ten said they had to leave their other half alone to relieve the tension of being in each other’s company and 8% of those surveyed even ended the holiday early.
Almost one in five thought that seeing other couple happy is a wake up call to their unhappiness. Nearly a third (27%) of divorced Brits said they decided to split for good within weeks of returning from a disastrous holiday.
Most popular month for couples to decide to divorce is September with most filing proceedings either immediately or first thing in the New Year. But it was not all doom and gloom, with 36% saying that the holiday saved their marriage.
A holiday was the third most popular thing for couples to do to save a marriage, with the most likely to go away in the UK or Spain. A week or long weekend were the most favoured length of time and more than half of couples went away by themselves (56%) while 38% went with the kids.
Amanda McAlister said, “One of the fundamental issues is that a holiday environment is essentially an artificial one and the problems that couples have will still be there when they return home.
“It takes more than a week in the sun to fix deep rooted problems but by taking the holiday and doing everything you can to save a marriage it means that even if a couple does decide to get divorced it can often been done more amicably and without a lengthy court battle.
“This is because neither party will feel like the other hasn’t tried to fix the problems and both parties will normally have come to a mutual decision on the end of the marriage.”
Amanda McAlister is Head of Family Law at Slater and Gordon Lawyers.
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