Image showing the finances that come with divorce

Cost of living crisis ‘impacting divorce decision making’

A new survey of 2,000 adults has uncovered the impact that the cost of living crisis is having on divorce and separation in England and Wales.

The survey, which was commissioned by the law firm, Birketts, found that 60% of adults in England and Wales would think about divorce differently now compared to a year ago, with over half (57%) stating that they would consider postponing divorce or dissolution as a result of the current economic climate. This rises to over two thirds (67%) for 18-24 year olds.

In fact, those who are married with dependent children and considering divorce are more likely to postpone their divorce than any other demographic, with 73% being of that opinion.

The cost of living crisis is also having an impact on living arrangements for couples separating. Almost two thirds of adults in England and Wales would consider remaining in the same property as their spouse post-divorce or dissolution. On average, those surveyed said that they would consider remaining in the same property as their ex-spouse for 10 months.

When it comes to the legal landscape, just over a fifth (21%) of those who think about divorce differently thanks to the cost of living crisis are now less likely to appoint a solicitor. On the whole, one in six adults in England and Wales do not think it is important to have legal representation when going through a divorce or separation.

The survey also asked respondents what is most important in separation settlements. Whilst amicability is important for a third (34%) of respondents, just over seven in 10 (71%) of adults in England and Wales think the financial settlement should take their partner’s behaviour, such as being unfaithful, into account.

In terms of financial payments, almost half (43%) of adults in England and Wales would not expect to split pensions payments in divorce or dissolution settlements.

Commenting on the findings, Tom Quinn, Partner at Birketts, said:

“What is clear about these findings is that the current cost of living crisis is having a wide impact on society. Potential delays to starting the divorce or dissolution process could mean that many remain trapped in unhappy situations.

The results also raise a warning sign that public opinion and public policy are out of step with each other when it comes to whether behaviour should impact a financial settlement. As Family Lawyers, it is our responsibility to guide our clients through the process to minimise conflict and cost and ensure a fair outcome for all parties from both a financial and practical perspective.”

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