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Separating after the summer holidays

The long six weeks summer holiday are finally coming to an end. The uniform has been bought, school shoes polished, new bags lined up in the hallway.

September is a time for new beginnings, as the school year starts and children go into new classes, or even new schools.

The start of the school year can be a turning point in relationships, as many who have put up with their spouse throughout the long holidays reach the end of their tether and start to investigate divorce proceedings.

As divorce lawyers, we often see a rise in people enquiring about divorcing their partner as soon as the kids return to school.

Looking at these in relation to the summer months, there is a lull as couples and families go on holiday and try to enjoy the (hopefully) nicer weather. August tends to be a quieter month for family lawyers.

After the summer holidays, money troubles can raise their heads – and this is especially poignant in the difficult economic climate. Not only this, but spending extended periods of time together can expose the cracks in the relationship. Just think back to the surge in divorces after the pandemic lockdowns!

So, if you are thinking about separating after the summer holidays, what are the next steps?

Getting a divorce

Although much of the initial divorce process can be completed online, it is important to seek specialist legal advice, particularly when it comes to your finances.

The first stage of the divorce process is to complete a divorce application by filling in a Form D8 online or by post. Following this, you will have a 20-week cooling off period before you can apply for the conditional order.

After another 6 weeks, you can apply to have the final order granted, legally dissolving your marriage. However, this does not automatically break the financial ties you and your ex-spouse had within your marriage.

Financial settlements

Money and assets must be dealt with in their own right during the divorce process, otherwise you can remain financially tied to your ex-spouse as financial obligations are not automatically ended when you get divorced. A consent order must be in place to ensure the settlement is final and enforceable.

Financial settlements can get complicated, which is why we have a network of Financial Advisers, pension, property and budget experts and accountants on hand to support you.

What about the children?

The divorce process can be a huge upheaval for children. School and other regular activities provide routine and a sense of security, so keeping this as central is vital for mitigating feelings of displacement and anxiety.

A poorly managed divorce can have long-term impacts on children, potentially causing separation anxiety in younger children, or resentment and distancing for older children.

There is professional and legal support available for parents dealing with children, whether infants or teens, and for the children themselves. Information on how to manage children during a divorce can be found here.

Divorce coaches are very helpful when it comes to dealing with emotional and practical decisions, and expert legal advice should be sought when thinking about child arrangement orders.

Divorce can be scary, so we have specialist lawyers and professionals to help you every step of the way. Please seek help to support you through this journey.

Useful links

Watch Stowe talks – Beginners guide to divorce

Financial Settlement FAQs

Avoiding Financial Mistakes

Helping your children understand your divorce

Impact of conflict during divorce on children

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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