According to data from the INE, the Spanish Institute of Statistics, in 2021 there were 90,000 sentimental breakups, between separations and divorces. The General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) also says, with data from 2022, that the number of divorces is highest in the third quarter of the year, specifically in the month of September.
The reasons are logical. In addition to the fact that in the month of August the law firms are closed, the holidays wreak havoc on relationships that are not very solid or are going through difficult times. Living together affects the bond, and in some cases, couples feel like two strangers when they spend 24 hours a day together. What Gemma Fradera, family lawyer, expert in matrimonial law and family mediator for more than twenty years, explains to RAC1.
These days after holidays more couples come to manage the divorce?
Yes, after the summer, like after Easter, there is a rise in work in the office. When couples live together 24 hours a day, there is much more demand for our services afterwards.
What are the most common causes of divorces?
Basically, the appearance of third parties or a lack of understanding between them. When they live together 24 hours at a time when they don't have the headaches of work, they dedicate themselves to themselves, and they realize that the other person has taken different paths. There is no connection anymore, they are very far from each other, an incompatibility arises when life goes by. Most of them have focused too much on work and children, and perhaps they have forgotten to take care of their partner and create spaces for them. When you have this space of 24 hours a day, you meet like two strangers.
During the year, does the thought 'tomorrow be another day' work?
The day to day, during the year, passes quickly, and there is not much free time. In summer, you may realize that you are more comfortable with the co-worker with whom you spend eight hours a day than with the person you live with. There are people for whom vacations with their partner seem long, they have had days to disconnect and they have passed too slowly.
He also says that there are couples who go to the lawyer to get a divorce just before the summer because they don't want to spend the holidays together.
Yes, before the summer comes they want to have the papers signed so they don't have to spend another summer with that person. In the pandemic this was very clear, it happened in many cases. Before the summer of 2020 there were many divorces. Being together in confinement made it clear that the relationship was not working in many cases.
Based on your experience, do you think that upbringing is another common reason for marriage breakups?
Children bring responsibilities: my time is no longer 100% mine, I have to dedicate it to a new little person. The person who dedicates himself more to his children has less time for himself. This ends up having an impact on the couple, obviously.
Spending time on vacation with the in-laws, mothers-in-law and brothers-in-law... does it affect the relationship a lot?
Yes, but it is not the main reason for breakage. With the political family you can relate more or less and you can reach agreements. Many couples come to the office and explain that the problem was the in-laws and they have agreed that they will only go a few days a year with them. It is a solvable issue. The problem is when there is really no affinity and understanding with the other person. The children, the in-laws, the distribution of tasks at home, one's own time... All of this can be triggers. Now, after the holidays, what happens is that there are couples living together for many hours who realize that they no longer know each other.
Are more and more couples who have been together a long time getting divorced? Are there more and more "grey divorces"?
Yes, they are elderly people who have a mentality from before. They thought marriage was forever, but they say enough is enough. Many times the woman is subjected and asks for a divorce and the man does not accept it. Perhaps she does not charge anything because she has always been a housewife, they are retired, and it costs a lot, they are complicated cases.
Is it more the woman or the man who initiates the divorce?
Normally it is the woman who makes the decision because she sees that things are not working, she is more aware that what should be there does not exist. Sometimes they hold out for the children. Men have a harder time making the decision; and if they take it, normally -not always- they do so when there is a third person, something that does not happen with women, who decide when they see that the relationship has broken.
What do you recommend to couples who are now thinking of getting divorced?
If there are children, let them think that they will always be a family, even if they break up as a couple. They have built a family with them, and these children that everyone loves, have a father and a mother that are part of their lives. Just for that reason you have to reach agreements and not fight. If not, a judge will decide for them. A divorce, after all, is an economic and functional reorganization of the family, and it is convenient for those who want to reorganize it to decide.
What is the most important thing for a divorce to end well?
What I always say is that you have to be very generous with the other person, do yourself favors. What one day happens to the next, can also happen to you. Both members of the couple or ex-partner need each other because they are the father and mother of the children. And who better than them to take care of their children, and not a third party. It takes generosity for a divorce to end well. A contentious divorce before the judge means that we no longer speak to the couple for many years, or we speak in an unfriendly way, and this affects the children. I have seen very contentious divorces. The boys and girls in these cases end up being clients of psychologists. The reason to attack the ex if you no longer live together are usually the creatures; and they, the little ones, are in the middle.
In most cases right now, custody of the children is shared?
From the age of three, yes. A difficult period is adolescence, since children often decide that they want to live with one of the two, and not share custody. From the age of 12 the minor can decide with which of the parents she wants to live; and from the age of 9 they also give their opinion (and the judge listens to them), even though they do not decide. As long as there is no abuse or serious situations of problems at home, in which case the social agents for the protection of minors are activated. If the 12-year-old boy or girl says that she does not want to go with one of the two, the judge listens to him, to assess the reasons, and normally accepts it.
This article was originally published on RAC1.