Is the cost-of-living crisis affecting divorce?

The cost of living crisis is having an effect on people getting divorced. Find out what our family lawyers have to say.

06 January 2023

family sitting outside ready to start camping holiday

Dubbed “D-Day” by lawyers, the first Monday back at work after Christmas, annually sees record numbers of spouses commence divorce proceedings. In fact, one in five divorced couples say Christmas was the hardest time in their relationship, with 10% contacting a family lawyer immediately after the Christmas break.

With the cost of living crisis, people are now feeling the financial pressure now more than ever, which can have an impact on your relationship. To understand the effect that the cost of living is having on married couples, we carried out research to understand how the current economic situation is affecting people’s relationships.

What the research shows

Our research* shows that the cost of living crisis has added stress, with 40% of those surveyed saying it has placed additional pressure on their marriage. Despite this, approximately one in three (35%) say it has prevented them from starting divorce proceedings and is the most common reason preventing people from getting a divorce. In fact, couples are more likely to stay together because of the cost of living crisis (35%) than because they share children (33%).

Although the cost of living crisis may be preventing people from progressing with their divorce, 54% of people said they wished they’d started divorce proceedings earlier. When asked why, 42% of people said delaying their divorce caused more stress and anxiety, 29% said it had a negative impact on children and 27% said it caused even more arguments. A quarter said delaying their divorce made the separation more toxic.

When it comes to why most couples get divorced, the cost-of-living crisis has seriously impacted struggling relationships, as 15% said financial pressures were to blame for the end of their marriage. One-third (32%) of those surveyed said their relationship ended due to simply falling out of love, with 30% ending due to infidelity.

Advice from our Head of Family Law

Georgina Chase, Head of Family Law, said: “Christmas can be a challenging time for families. If problems already exist in a marriage, they may well be exacerbated during the festive period, and even more so due to the pressures of the cost-of-living crisis. If you feel there is no chance of reconciliation and divorce is inevitable, it is important that independent legal advice is obtained from a specialist Family Solicitor as early as possible. This will enable you to know where you stand and allow you to make informed decisions. A constructive approach will potentially lead to a less acrimonious divorce, which is especially important when children are involved.”

How Slater and Gordon can help you

Going through a divorce can be difficult, our expert divorce solicitors are here to help you through the process, and all the elements that go along with that, including childcare arrangements and financial settlements. You can speak in confidence to a family solicitor for an initial consultation, for a fixed fee, to help you understand your legal options and to choose your next steps.

*Survey was conducted by asking 1000 married people and 1000 recently divorced people a set of questions.

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