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Divorce Statistics: Divorces Costing More Even Though Legal Fees Have Gone Down

Divorce Statistics: Divorces Costing More Even Though Legal Fees Have Gone Down

According to the most recent figures from the Office of National Statistics, 118,140 marriages and 794 civil partnerships ended in England and Wales in 2012, while 9,700 marriages and 67 civil partnerships ended in Scotland in 2012-2013.

A new report from insurance firm Aviva has found that the average cost of divorcing for each couple has risen 57%, from around £28,000 in 2006 to £43,900. The extra cost doesn’t necessarily come from from legal fees – which Aviva reports have actually fallen in that time, from £1,818 to £1,280 – but from what could be called a post-divorce consolation “splurge”. One in eight say they spent an average of almost £2,000 on a holiday “to celebrate their newly-single status”. A similar number spent an average of £1,200 on new gadgets, while 8% spent £1,400 on new clothes and jewellery. Almost 12% of the participants in the survey invested an average of £2,100 on learning a new skill or starting a new hobby. Significant costs are the £3,371 in annual child maintenance payments, and £4,320 that new child care arrangements can cost.

Perceived costs deter separations

Louise Colley, a director of Aviva, said: “Two-thirds of couples who are married or co-habiting have some shared finances. These arrangements can take some time to unravel if a relationship unfortunately breaks down. Beginning again following a separation can be a daunting time, not to mention a busy one, but it’s crucial that newly-single people review money matters when their circumstances change”.

Twenty nine per cent of couples claim to have attempted an amicable settlement when their relationship broke down, in order to save on legal fees. One in ten continued living together for a period after separating, because they couldn’t afford to find their own accommodation. Six percent agreed not to seek a divorce, due to the perceived costs involved.

Prenuptial agreements

The number of couples seeking pre-nuptial agreements to cover such eventualities is thought to have increased in recent years – and when 66% of separating couples have joint finances, it is plain to see why. Cafcass has reported a 2% increase in Private Law demand between 2013 and 2014, following on from a 9% increase on the figure for 2012 and 2013. A private member’s bill, The Divorce (Financial Provisions) Bill, recently had its second reading in the House of Lords; it proposed that pre- and post-nuptial agreements be accorded the same status they enjoy in Scotland, where they are generally accepted as being legally binding.

A pre-nuptial agreement, despite being perceived as un-romantic, can nevertheless save much time, money, and rancour later. It should take into account the assets and liabilities brought by each partner into the marriage, their value, and how they might later be divided. Any agreement should also contain provisions for whether either partner will receive a single lump-sum settlement on separating, or how much will be made in continuing payments.

Family break-ups are traumatic for adults, and children in particular. At IBB Solicitors, we’re here to help you resolve divorce and separation issues as swiftly and sensitively as possible with caring, compassionate advice and representation. We will always give you practical and honest advice and protect your interests robustly should there be court proceedings. We have experience in dealing with a variety of clients and situations including high net worth divorce cases, particularly where complex assets or overseas arrangements are involved.

We do everything in our power to make the separation and divorce process as painless as possible. Our divorce and family lawyers in the South Buckinghamshire area provide you with a full range of family law services in complete confidence.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of family law, are considering divorce proceedings, or a trial separation, or want to draw up a pre or post-nuptial agreement, call us in absolute confidence on 01494 790058 or 01494 790047. Alternatively, email us at familylaw@ibblaw.co.uk.