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Economic Recovery Fuels Family Breakup

Monday, 31 March 2014

The good times may be starting to roll once again for businesses but this is having the opposite effect on marriages.

There is a degree of consensus between family lawyers and government statisticians about a theory that the end of recessions also brings an end to increasing numbers of marriages.

This time is no different; as the economic recovery takes hold divorce is on the rise but the cause may not be just down to economics.

The Statistics of Economics and Divorce

The statistical trend for divorce had actually been in decline for a prolonged period with rates decreasing by nearly 20 per cent over a ten year period until 2012.

Since then the trend has begun to reverse though, with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recording 118,140 divorces in 2012. This marked a 0.5 per cent increase over 2011.

Family lawyers are on the front line when it comes to dealing with marriage breakups and many cite anecdotal evidence in their own practices that there has been a significant rise in cases of divorce over the last twelve to eighteen months.

A review of previous economic downturns and their affect upon marriage indicates that the end of recession may be a leading indicator for divorce. The recession of the early 1990’s saw a marked increase in the rates of divorce in 1993 once the economy had already started to recover.

Why Have Divorces been Increasing Since 2012?

Although there is some correlation between economic factors and divorce rates, there is not a definitive answer to this question. There is a theory that couples who may be ready to divorce during the downturn have been pragmatic enough to wait until they had greater job security and for the value of shared assets such as their home to recover before going their separate ways.

However, the data on divorces complex; divorce is also affected by other factors including social changes. Statistics show that newer marriages are more likely to last than marriages that took place in the 1990’s for example and that older couples reaching retirement age are now far more likely to divorce than they once were. The huge rise in ‘Silver Surfer’ divorces has run counter to recent trends for other age groups.


Divorce at any stage in life can be challenging and stressful, particularly if it is not handled with the right level of sensitivity and care. Couples may well have tried to make things work through tough economic circumstances but have found that an improved financial position has clarified their need to move on.

Whatever situation you find yourself in, it is important to get the right help and advice from an experienced family solicitor. Speak to Rollingsons’ family department today for help; contact Jeetesh Patel via e- mail or by telephone on 0207 611 4848.

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