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Couples 'delay divorces' because of recession

It appears that couples in the UK are delaying their divorces, as the after-effects of the UK's recession continue to take effect.

Some 47 per cent of lawyers in the north-west of England, according to the Grant Thornton matrimonial survey, which was seen by the Manchester Evening News, claimed their clients had given financial difficulties as a reason for delaying their split.

However, quite strangely, the same percentage of solicitors stated the biggest cause of divorce was monetary problems - so not only is the economic climate delaying separations, it is also causing them.

Louisa Plumb, an associate director for forensic and investigation services at Grant Thornton accountants in Manchester, said: "It seems there were more people splitting-up but having to live under the same roof because the financial difficulties of going their separate ways were insurmountable.

"Now the housing market is beginning to show signs of life and the general economic picture is less gloomy that may start to change, with a corresponding rise in the divorce rate."

Apart from financial pressures, there were a number of other reasons listed as to why couples broke up.

In 28 per cent of cases, an extra-marital affair was given as the main cause of a divorce, while falling out of love was also cited as a main contributory factor in 26 per cent of break-ups in the north-west.

When asked about their views on the biggest issues facing family law in the north-west of England, 29 per cent of solicitors said it was the problems brought on by litigants representing themselves in court because of a lack of public funding.

Similarly, 21 per cent highlighted the budget cuts prescribed by the government for Legal Aid, which lawyers argue will harm poorer Britons' ability to properly go through the due process involved in getting a divorce.

Thousands of lawyers across the UK protested against this measure earlier this week (January 6th), arguing it would mean richer clients would have the upper hand in court.

By Francesca Witney