Unfortunately, we are in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. Over the last few months, there has been extensive media coverage about escalating mortgage rates, energy bills, and the price of food and other essentials.
The future feels bleak for many families facing months, if not years, of financial strain and uncertainty. Financial duress can pressure any relationship and undoubtedly contribute to couples separating and, potentially, divorcing.
Christmas will have been a difficult time for many financially, and the added stress of the January credit card bills will only serve to compound that.
According to data from the Ministry of Justice, divorce applications reached the highest rate in a decade in the middle of last year. The data shows that 33,566 divorce applications were made (78% from sole applicants and 22% from joint applicants) between April and June 2022.
This sudden increase coincided with the introduction of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act (2020), allowing for “no-fault” divorce. It remains to be seen whether this increase for the second quarter of 2022 resulted from people waiting for the no-fault divorce law to come into force or due to other factors.
Whether the cost-of-living crisis will result in fewer or more divorces remains to be seen. Divorce rates dropped during the 2008-2009 crisis and only increased again in 2010, which could be a delayed response to the 2008-2009 crisis once the immediate effects of that crisis started to ease. The change in divorce rates could align with the theory that a recession indeed contributes to rising divorce rates but with a delayed impact. Some couples naturally prefer to wait for the economy to recover after a recession before going their separate ways.
We suspect many couples will decide to separate or divorce but have concluded that they cannot do this as they cannot sell their home or raise a mortgage due to rising interest rates. However, some will need to leave a marriage for their sanity or safety or to protect their children.
We have written a blog that has included a few practical steps to alleviate some financial pressure faced during a divorce.
If you are struggling financially but need matrimonial legal advice, we can help in many ways: