The summer is ending. The workaday world awaits. The night breeze ruffles the leaves it soon will reap. In other words:
It’s time to get a divorce.
Sorry, but that’s what this time of year brings. “Late August, early September, the phone starts ringing with a lot of new business,” said the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Gaetano Ferro. “It has been fairly consistent over the years.”
“July and August are the time of the crouching tiger,” divorce attorney Raoul Felder agreed, “a time of lying in wait. At the end of August, when the kids are in school, the fees have been paid, and vacation is at an end, you attend to business.”
The business, that is, of breaking up.
While no one seems to keep any hard statistics on which month ushers in the most divorce inquiries, this end-ofsummer phenom was noted by several lawyers who see it as a parallel to the uptick in calls they get in January, after the holidays.
In both seasons, Ferro said, couples have often just spent some quality time together and, apparently, the quality was not too high. “People who are miserable in their marriage look forward to the holidays, hoping they’ll be happy,” Ferro said. When they’re not, “they call a divorce lawyer.”
Marsha Temlock, author of “Your Child’s Divorce – What To Expect … What You Can Do,” tells the story of one lessthan contented couple who decided to bond on an August rafting trip. “She was not a real outdoorsy person and she was sick before they went. The camping – it was a disaster. She was miserable, he was miserable. But the day she broke out in hives” – that was the day they called it quits.
And that was a couple who actually spent their vacation time together. Legion, of course, are those who don’t, with their own autumnal consequences.
“Summer flings just go with the territory,” Felder said, referring to beach communities and such, where wives see their husbands only on weekends. “As long as I’m in the business, which is 40 years, I’ve seen after everything explodes that there’s been a trainer involved or the house painter or an architect. The architect is very popular because he’s half an artist and half a workingman.”
As for the husband, country weekends with the wife often end in cityside suppers with someone else.
Whether or not there’s a chippie (or architect) involved, the summer cossets one more homewrecker: reflection. Long hours of it. Lull time is mull time and then – wham – suddenly the decision is obvious.
“I can’t face another school year with this marriage.” Over and over again, that’s what divorcees told Susan Shapiro Barash as she interviewed them for her three books on marital distress, including “Women of Divorce: Mothers, Daughters, Stepmothers – The New Triangle.” The grind of another school year just seemed unbearable, when combined with the grind of another year of being married to (fill in the blank).
There is one more possible explanation for late-summer discontent, but it seems almost too simplistic:
“As temperatures rise, tempers flare and marriages end,” said Lee Rosen, head of the Rosen Law Firm. “I feel like, if you look around when you’re stuck in traffic in the middle of the summer, you can almost look at the drivers’ faces and see them screaming on their cell phones to their spouse and the next call they make,” he said, “is to us.”
Thus the sweet, slow days of summer come crashing headon into fall, with work life screaming, marriages splintering, sirens wailing – and homework.
All I can say is: Watch out.
Lenore Skenazy is a contributing editor at the New York Sun.
©2007 Creators Syndicate Inc.