Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
When I say that divorce is seasonal, quite often this is met with surprise. Over the past 3 years at BEST we have noticed a clear peak in new client enquiries for divorce in January (busiest), September and May. It is not a coincidence that these months immediately follow holiday weeks for Christmas, summer and Easter. We are now seeing purchases for our Divorce Vouchers as gifts for friends or family members who could do with some advice about their marital situation.
Holidays should bring families together but if there are already issues within a marriage, they are highlighted when you spend long periods with each other. On a day to day level, you are pre occupied with work, chores and childcare and probably trying to avoid spending too much time together.
I recently met with Jessica Valentine, Chartered Psychologist (St Albans Wellness centre). It is frightening how many couples are on autopilot. Both are avoiding issues and allow things to bottle up. The obvious results when they are in a situation where they cannot avoid one another, is that they are overwhelmed and explode. Next step – divorce lawyers. Of course, not all issues can be addressed and sometimes so many issues have built up that the prospect of trying to resolve them is too painful.
I see many clients in this situation and wonder how different things may be if the issues were addressed with a third party earlier on. Relationship counselling is underestimated. I ran through a few ‘breakdown’ scenarios with Jessica and was surprised at how easily those issues are dealt with. The first step being to address why the issues are occurring in the first place and then advising on how to deal with the effect of the issues. For the counselling to work there must be frankness and a commitment to making amends.
I would like to see more people attend relationship counselling rather than leaving issues unresolved or allowing them to build up. Sometimes, all it takes is one session to change your perspective on something that would otherwise be the reason for your marriage breakdown. A marriage has to be worth an hour with a counsellor.