While traditionally we have been used to reports of spikes in divorce enquiries in January and September, over the last couple of years my colleagues and I at Prolegal have seen the number of enquires for divorce increase in June.
Could it be that for some couples the prospect of the school holidays precipitates divorce? That the mere thought of spending their summer holiday together is enough to send them over the edge and going running towards the divorce courts?
In the past divorce spikes have come after established holiday periods - due to the strain of spending family time together or to couples hanging on in there until after holiday periods to avoid upsetting their families.
Yet, people now seem to be taking the view that two weeks spent with their partner, locked together in a different environment with no distractions, could be problematic.
Statistics suggest the recession may be putting unnaturally high pressure on relationships.
According to the Office for National Statistics, at the end of 2011, the divorce rate was up 5%, from 113,949 to 119,589, after years of decline.
Without the comfort blanket of financial security couples are left with the bare bones of what may not always be a pretty sight.
In the modern world, the days of stay-at-home mothers (or fathers) is becoming more unaffordable.
Levels of personal debt are at an all-time high, the cost of mortgage borrowing still represents a huge burden (as although interest rates are at an historic low, many couples remain in fixed rate mortgages or have reverted to standard variable rates which have recently been increased by some lenders) and bonus payments have fundamentally changed.
So we operate in a society where economic reality dictates that both parties have to go to work.
And for some couples I would suggest the fact that they are both so busy and rarely see one another, actually papers over the cracks in their relationship. This all falls away at holiday time and there is no escape from the realisation that actually they no longer wish to spend "quality time" together.
We live in a throwaway society. When our television breaks down we make no effort to have it fixed, we just throw it out and start again. Although I would like to think that people view their relationships a little differently, I fear that for many this is not the case. The average length of a marriage in this country is 11 years - just one year more than the guarantee on the Miele washing machine you bought when you got married!
Jonathan West is head of family law at Prolegal
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