Couples are “forced to live together for an average of 1.3 years after they split”, with “one in eight continuing to share a bedroom” due to the impact of the current cost-of-living crisis.
Layla Babadi, senior associate in the family team at law firm Roythornes Solicitors, considers the impact of the economic crisis on divorce and what couples should be aware of to reduce costs and strain during a separation.
“When you separate from your partner, you must navigate splitting your money, property, pensions, and debt,” Babadi said. “Fears about being worse off, coupled with the uncertainty around spiralling legal fees, might lead you to question whether you can afford to divorce given the current economic climate.”
Babadi suggests that reaching an agreement in a couple can be made legally binding by instructing a solicitor to turn the agreement into a consent order, as opposed to a court disagreement which would cost thousands of pounds.
“A second factor that may impact divorcing during the current crisis is timing. A common misconception is that the court will consider your financial position at the time you separated. However, courts look at your financial position as it is when you divorce, not separate. This may mean your financial position is very different at these two timestamps and could end up costing you more or complicating your tax position. “
However, another consideration could be the impact on emotional health and the well-being of the wider family, she suggests:
“There is no simple or correct approach that suits all couples, which is why at Roythornes we give the right advice from the outset, to avoid costly errors having an impact on the final outcome. A crisis is tough for all, but we aim to reduce the stress and hardship involved.”