Sun, sea, sand and… squabbling.
Not what you’re looking for on your family vacation? Research suggests that enquiries to divorce solicitors peak just after the summer holidays.
Spending a couple of weeks in close proximity to your other half, without the interruptions of work and your usual routine, can put your marriage under strain.
A combination of factors, from pressure, to making the most of limited annual leave, to the challenges of travelling together as a family can all cause the summer break to be stressful. As one of the UK’s leading family law firms, we are familiar with many of the scenarios that send couples dashing for the divorce courts rather than the beach.
Here are our top tips to avoid separating after your summer holiday:
1) Prepare for family holidays
In the rush to finish work ahead of the family break, the burden of planning and packing may fall more heavily on one partner. This can lead to resentment before the holiday even begins.
Make a plan together to divide up the tasks. If it isn’t practical to share them out equally, ensure that the person who has to do the most pre-holiday work gets thanks and recognition for it – perhaps treat them to a spa day or golf trip during the holiday, or a nice gift at the airport on your outbound journey. Pre-holiday shopping, laundry and packing are all usually thankless but essential tasks – don’t let them go unnoticed.
2) Don’t expect your holiday to be perfect
The thought of spending a couple of weeks somewhere warm and sunny may conjure up images of blissful afternoons spent by the pool or beach. The reality may be less idyllic – looking after children without your usual support network, navigating unfamiliar surroundings and finding food that everyone will eat, can be tricky.
Discuss expectations as a family and make it clear that the most important thing is to enjoy spending time together, irrespective of the accommodation or the climate. Help to minimise disappointment by researching your destination thoroughly before you travel, and have a list of activities and places to visit in cases of bad weather.
3) Recognise the flashpoints
We all respond differently to unfamiliar settings and environments. Travelling can be stressful – from negotiating check-in queues to dreary departure lounges – as can spending time in unfamiliar accommodation away from the comforts of home. Some people find the exotic energizing; others, draining.
If there are things that frequently cause disagreement during your holidays, it’s sensible to recognise these and take action to try and mitigate them. You may find, for instance, that upgrading your travel plans to make your journey more comfortable is a worthwhile investment if it gets your holiday off to a good start. Talk openly to your partner about how you feel about getting away, and plan to improve any parts of the holiday that either of you don’t enjoy so much.
4) Make time for the adults, not just the kids
A holiday should be a relaxing experience for the whole family… but often the demands of catering to the needs of children means that adult needs get forgotten. Don’t let your itinerary become entirely dictated by the need to entertain your kids – it’s important that you can both use your precious holiday time to recharge. Offer to look after the children for an afternoon if your partner could do with a little ‘me’ time – and don’t be afraid to ask them to do the same for you. You undoubtedly work hard for your holidays and deserve a little relaxation. Just because you are on holiday together doesn’t mean that you have to spend every moment together.
When you need more than just a holiday
Sometimes a good holiday is all that’s needed to rekindle the romance in your relationship, and help you and your spouse to appreciate each other again.
Just like a holiday, no marriage is perfect. But if you feel that it’s time for a new start in your life, you might benefit from a confidential discussion with an expert divorce lawyer. If you’d like to talk to us about our family law services, please give us a call on 0121 248 4001 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help.