Family law

Research shows nearly a third of spouses are divorcing due to cost-of-living crisis

Research shows nearly half of couples (46%) in a civil partnership or marriage have had additional strain put on their relationship due to the cost-of-living crisis - a jump of 6% compared to last year.

08 January 2024

The first working-Monday of the New Year has been dubbed ‘Divorce Day’, or ‘D-Day’ by family lawyers and the media. Christmas can be a stressful time, even in the happiest of marriages and as many are settling back into regular life again, the first Monday back at work after Christmas annually sees record numbers of people commencing divorce proceedings.

Georgina Chase, Head of the Family Law Practice at Slater and Gordon, who has extensive experience in supporting clients through divorce proceedings, says: “For the second year running, and as the cost-of-living continues to bite, many are putting off starting divorce proceedings. If people are already struggling financially, they may choose to not add additional stress by increasing their outgoings in the form of a separation.”

Chase continues: “Additional pressure piles up over the festive period for spouses trying to plan a ‘perfect’ Christmas for their family. On top of regular monetary woes, couples have to add the stress of buying lots of presents, hosting family members, and buying more food than usual into the mix.”

The market research, found that in a survey of over 2,000 people, not only are nearly a third of spouses (30%) naming the cost-of-living as a main reason for starting divorce proceedings, but 52% listed financial stress; 46% named limited ability to take part in social activities; and 41% named arguments caused by money troubles.

Amongst those who have already divorced, more than a quarter (28%) say the cost-of-living crisis has made them more likely to consider a pre-nuptial agreement in their next marriage, with 40% saying their divorce created debt.

“From our experience, the longer someone stays in a marriage they don’t want to be in, the more acrimonious the divorce is in the end. In fact, our research shows that more than 50% of people wish they’d started divorce proceedings earlier. However, each case is unique and needs to be considered based on its individual circumstances. If you have recently separated or are now looking to separate, you should contact an expert family solicitor, who will be able to provide tailored advice that’s right for you and your family,” says Chase.

So called “No Fault Divorce” was introduced on 6 April 2022 and means that spouses are no longer required to assign blame for the breakdown of a marriage in applying for Divorce.

The recent change in legislation to no fault Divorce also allows both parties to now apply to the court for a Divorce; a change in the law that was the end of a culmination of years of campaigning.

Chase concludes: “No fault Divorce more accurately reflects the current landscape for the majority of spouses who wish to legally end their marriage in a calm and constructive manner, without having to have a battle to do so. This is especially important for children of the family, who are often caught up in the separation of their parents.

“It removes ‘the blame game’ which can all too often exacerbate conflict and ultimately has a detrimental effect on not only the parties themselves, but also their children. It is now possible for the Divorce process to be less contentious, allowing spouses to concentrate on resolving their matrimonial finances and child arrangements in a more constructive manner.”

For more information on divorce or other family law matters, contact us here

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