The data

American sociologists have analysed data collected in relation to divorces in Washington between the years 2001-2015 and have found the number of people issuing divorce proceedings peaks in March and August after holidays at Christmas and Summer.

Why holidays?

Holidays are often an intense time spending 24 hours with your spouse and children, in addition to the financial worries that holidays often bring. Many couples who are experiencing doubts in their marriage often view holidays as the saving grace “we just need to get away, have a great holiday together and things will improve” type thinking. Although often the pressure that spouses put on a holiday means that it will never live up to the expectation – it’s a sticking plaster rather than a silver bullet.

So why do holidays give unhappy spouses hope that their marriage will improve even if they’ve been unhappy for years? The University of Washington have termed this an ‘optimism cycle’ – they say holidays represent a new start, something different to the mundane of everyday life, they represent opportunity which gives even the most unhappy couples hope for the future of their relationship.

What next?

Once spouses realise that the holiday has not fulfilled their expectations it prompts them to reassess their relationship and marriage as a whole, which often leads many to file for divorce.

What can you do?

We’re not advising that you never go on holiday with your spouse – holidays can be a great chance to strengthen the bond between couples by experiencing new cultures and engaging in activities outside of your comfort zone. However if you do have concerns about your marriage, rather than relying on a holiday to try and put things right, we’d suggest you look to marriage counselling to see if you can work through your issues as a couple to come out even stronger at the end. Often the reason why so many marriages end is because spouses have stopped effectively communicating with one another, or one party is communicating but the other person stops hearing them.

If counselling isn’t for you and you’re unable to work through your differences together, you’ve decided that your marriage has irretrievably broken down and there is no chance of reconciliation then I would suggest you obtain early advice from a solicitor about your options going forward. A solicitor can simply explain the divorce process to you and how you finalise financial matters on divorce, as often it is the unknown which causes people the most anxiety. At Gorvins we try to provide practical advice and manage expectations early on so that Client’s know what to expect going forward.

If you would like to speak to a member of the Family team, on 0161 930 5151 or email You can also fill in our online form and someone will call you back.

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