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‘Divorce day’ delay? Is the cost-of-living crisis tempering the January surge?

New research is suggesting this month’s annual spike in divorce enquiries might be on hold – because of the cost-of-living crisis.

Divorce day

Bradie Pell

January’s ‘divorce day’ (January 2nd), coupled with ‘blue Monday’ (January 15th), have become an established trigger for the start of separation proceedings, but figures from Legal & General suggest that the situation has caused 270,000 couples to delay splitting.

But there could also be other factors at play.

Although there was a sharp rise in divorce applications following the introduction of the Government’s Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 in April 2022 which allowed couples to split without apportioning blame, the expected trend didn’t continue. A year on and the numbers had fallen by 30% year-on-year.

One area that bucked the trend appeared to be nearby Alfreton – it had the UK’s highest divorce rate in 2023 according to Divorce Online.

It also discovered the digital age is providing new reasons for couples to split. Addiction to social media, smartphones, online shopping and online gambling are providing additional pressure.

Bradie Pell, head of family law at Graysons, said:

“It’s not unusual for financial pressure to cause the reason for a split but it can also force couples to stay together. High interest rates and inflation has piled pressure on families and they know – at the moment – they will struggle to maintain two households.”

But whatever happens this month, Bradie Pell urges couples to ensure they get the correct advice and ensure they exhaust all other options before seeking separation advice. She said:

“There is a wealth of information online but it’s definitely not a case of one size fits all. I’d always recommend couples take proper, legal advice. I think it’s very important that people know the shape of the process they’re entering into and what divorce might look like for them. Sometimes the option of marriage guidance counselling could be the first step.

“At the end of the day nobody wants to see a couple go through the emotional turmoil of a divorce but if they do have to, obtaining proper legal advice is key.”

For further help and advice, contact Bradie or one of the experienced family team.  You can also get much more information on family law on our web pages.

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