A new survey carried out by Resolution as part of Family Dispute Resolution Week has revealed the financial stresses of divorce and break-up. According to the research, 28% of adults report having to use overdrafts, loans and credit cards due to financial difficulties directly caused by separation.
The median household income in Britain is currently £32,600, leaving little to divide in the event of separation. The cost of legal processes, finding new homes, additional child care and maintenance creates further pressure on divorcing couples, causing many to fall into debt in an attempt to keep up.
Following divorce or separation, one in six separated adults (16%) turned to friends for short-term financial support, while one in four (26%) had to move in with a family member or friend. For those with children, finances are under an even heavier strain after separation. One in three separated parents (36%) was forced to go into debt in order to deal with financial issues that arose from divorce. Compared to their childless counterparts, parents were also more likely to ask for help from friends and family – one in five parents (21%) as opposed to 14% without kids.
The effects of separation also spilled over into the workplace, with one in ten respondents reporting that they had to leave their job following separation, and 16% saying that they have experienced or witnessed the effects of stress and ill health in the workplace as a result of relationship breakdown.
Jo Edwards, Chair of Resolution, commented that the survey revealed “the true extent of the damage that can be caused by divorce to people’s personal finances.”
“Separation often causes huge financial pressures;: finding two new homes, furnishing those homes, perhaps wanting to buy a second car, all from a finite pot of capital, not to mention the legal costs associated with divorce; and in income terms, having the same amount of income available to the family whilst potentially doubling the bills because of living in separate homes.”
“Too many people enter into a divorce of separation process without a full understanding of the financial consequences. And with over 50,000 people forced to represent themselves in the family courts every year as a result of the loss of legal aid, we’re concerned that many people are entering the courts with little understanding of how divorce will affect their financial future, and that of their children.”
Part of the solution to ease the financial stress of separation is to choose cheaper, quicker options such as mediation, arbitration and collaborative family law. These methods do not involve court costs as they can be settled simply and effectively with the aid of a mediator, arbitrator or family law solicitor. Fixed-fee legal services also help couples to budget for separation, laying out costs for each stage of the process and ensuring that a method of dispute resolution is used to suit their situation.
If you need advice and guidance on managing your finances through divorce and separation, please get in touch with the team at Frances Lindsay & Co. Our experienced and down-to-earth family lawyers serve the whole of the Thames Valley, with offices in Maidenhead and Beaconsfield.divorce and separation, divorce finances, divorce solicitor Beaconsfield, divorce solicitor Maidenhead, divorce solicitor Thames Valley