Has there been an increase in divorce rates due to cost-of-living crisis?
The Family Court statistics show that between January and March 2023 there were 28,865 divorce applications made (76% from sole applicants, 24% from joint applicants). This is a decrease of 5% from the same quarter in 2022.
Based on the information available it’s fair to say the cost-of-living crisis is not resulting in more divorces, likely as separating couples are facing very uncertain financial times and income is already stretched making it difficult for many couples to live separately running two households.
How has the cost-of-living crisis impacted divorcing couples?
- Changes in the housing market and investment/pension values have caused divorcing couples, whether the financially economic stronger or weaker party, to consider when it may be in their interests to finalise the division of assets on divorce. There are many factors which can influence this, but the predominant factors considered by the Court relate to parties’ respective capital and income needs, with children being paramount.
- Soaring energy bills, rising interest rates and increased cost of food and fuel have all had considerable financial impact. For some couples, even those who have decided to separate, they may decide to continue to live under the same roof or implement a “nesting” arrangement in the family home to spend time with the children independently. The increasing mortgage rates and rental costs are an influencing factor as to what can be achieved.
- Understandably, the costs associated with separation and divorce during such an uncertain financial period is an important consideration. There are many ways to minimise legal costs to try and reach a fair outcome for both parties and the family. One option is to consider the use of alternate dispute resolution (ADR) such as mediation, with the option of legal advice alongside the process which can help to minimise legal costs. If parties need to discuss child arrangements, they could also benefit from the government funded voucher scheme which in some cases can fund up to £500 in mediation costs.
- The financial pressures caused by the cost-of-living crisis, and the many changes which can arise on separation or divorce can have a huge impact on a person’s emotional health and well-being, and the wider family. There are many support services available and early signposting can help alleviate those pressures.
It’s important to seek specialist Family Law advice when considering the implications for you and your family of a separation or divorce.