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Divorce Stigma Alive & Well in 2014 Britain – New Report

Divorce Stigma Alive & Well in 2014 Britain – New Report

Nearly half of divorced Brits say they feel there is still a stigma attached to you if you end your marriage, new research commissioned by Slater and Gordon Lawyers has revealed.

Despite more than a third of marriages ending in divorce, 46% think they still face daily judgement from people because their marriage has failed.

Although the most common reasons people stayed in an unhappy marriage were because of concerns over their children and finances, one in ten said that they continued working at their marriage because they felt like there was a stigma to being a divorcee.

The research also revealed that more than a third said they knew that getting divorced would be seen as a personal failure so kept trying to salvage their marriage as a result.

The research into the views of more than 1,000 divorced Brits was commissioned by Slater and Gordon Lawyers to mark the release of their guide book to Marriage, Divorce, Children, Separation & The Legal System titled Family Law Made Simple.

Only half said they felt they could discuss the prospect of divorce with friends or family with most saying they felt they had to keep their thoughts to themselves. 

The research revealed that 57% of divorcees lost friends after their divorce and that on average the marriage breakdown impacts four of their friendships.

Women were twice as likely to put off getting divorced because of a perceived stigma and they were also twice as likely to find it harder to make friends after a divorce.

A sixth of divorcees said they lost their whole social circle after their divorce.

It also revealed that it takes an average of three years and eight months to ‘get back on track’ emotionally after a divorce.

Slater and Gordon Family Solicitor Sarah Thompson said, “We decided to write this book to help people through what is undoubtedly one of the most stressful experiences you can go through.

“This research shows that often people are feeling a huge mix of emotions and experiencing a lot of upheaval in their life going through a divorce, so our aim is to make the legal part as easy and simple as possible.

“We find that our clients are often struggling to come to terms with the impact getting divorced has on them emotionally as well as the impact on their children, on their finances and on their future so to try and navigate the complexities of the family law system at the same time can be quite overwhelming.

“Family Law Made Simple provides some crucial advice on how people can best prepare themselves for their divorce and get the most out of the time they have with their divorce lawyer.”

While in recent years, there has been a perception that people throw in the towel too quickly and see divorce as an easy option, 76% say they tried to fix the problems in their marriage before deciding on a divorce.

Around 40% of those that tried to fix things say they stayed in their marriage as long as they could because they believed marriage was forever.

The research also revealed that people often believe a lot of myths around divorce law and as a result found the process more confusing.

Around 40% wrongly believe you can only get a divorce if you both agree, while 44% believe you need to go to Court to get a divorce. Almost 60% believe it takes years to sort out a divorce when in fact it can take as little as three months.

Almost a quarter thought the marital home always has to be sold and more than a quarter were under the impression the wife always keeps the house.

More than 40% thought that assets would get split 50/50, and almost one in five believed the main earner pays for the divorce.

There were also many myths around children and custody battles with almost a third wrongly thinking that the woman always gets custody of the children.

85% also wrongly believed you can be granted divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, however this is an American law, not British and probably familiar to Brits because of Hollywood divorce cases and U.S. television and movies.

Sarah Thompson, the main contributor to the book on behalf of Slater and Gordon's Family Law team said, “People are often completely mis-informed about what the law is in the UK and as a result we often find clients are confused before they even start the divorce process.

This can delay things and generally make the experience harder but Family Law Made Simple clears up some of the myths about marriage and divorce and it makes the process easier and simpler for people, and in turn helps them to start rebuilding their lives after divorce.”

For a free initial consultation about Family Law or Divorce, call Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers have offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield & meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire.