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Number of divorces fall while the cost increases

View profile for Sarah Pennicott
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January is notoriously known as the month when family lawyers become busy following Christmas chaos and arguments.  Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) however show that the overall rates of divorce are continuing to fall.   Sarah Pennicott, Family Lawyer, reviews the reasons why this may be, and also discusses why the cost of a divorce is on the rise.

The ONS results show that there were 111,169 divorces in 2014, a decrease of 3.1% compared with 2013 and 27% lower than 2003.  The overall divorce rate in 2014 fell to 9.3 per thousand for married men and women, the lowest it’s been since 1974.  “The reason behind the fall has been attributed to more couples cohabiting before marriage, therefore having longer to test their relationship before they make the commitment of marriage, and some couples decide against marriage altogether” explains Sarah.  “It is people who marry in their teenage years or early 20’s who are at a greater risk of divorce, so the rising rate of people marrying in later life can also explain the decreasing figures.”

What is the cost of divorce?

While the number of divorces is decreasing, the cost of divorce is on the rise.  “Many people view divorce costs as simply court and legal fees, however there is more to consider,” continues Sarah.  “Recent headlines stating that the average cost of divorce in the UK is now approximately £70,000, according to research by Seddons, can frighten people into thinking they cannot afford legal advice to help them through the divorce process.  However, this figure includes £4,686 lost from a person’s salary, £5,089 in alternative accommodation and £51,543 paying off debt and sharing assets, such as pensions, rather than the legal cost itself.”

With the cost increasing, many look for ways they can save money and one way to do so is by organising their divorce themselves and avoiding legal fees.  “While in some cases divorce can be quite straightforward, divorces without legal representation can become more expensive down the line,” continues Sarah.  “Applications could be filed incorrectly with the wrong information which could mean additional court fees when they need to be re-submitted, and of course there will then be a delay in proceedings.”

Family Mediation

Coming to agreements on matters such as financial and children arrangements can also delay proceedings and increase the Court fees.  “People who file for divorce themselves will not have access to the important legal advice that can help them come to terms with what will happen after the divorce, and help negotiations between them and their ex-partner.  We see an increasing number of people come to us who have tried to negotiate between themselves and consequently ended up extending proceedings and causing more emotional turmoil.”

Family Mediation offers a separated couple the opportunity to discuss their disagreements with an independent person in a neutral environment.  “This gives the couple the chance to air their opinions and explain without interruption their point of view,” continues Sarah.  “The Family Mediator can also assess the situation from their unbiased position and can help the couple realise options that they may not have considered before.”

Divorce Packages

“Going through a divorce is an emotional time for all concerned, especially when there are complicated decisions to be made regarding your finances or your children,” concludes Sarah.  “The worry of divorce costs will only add to the tension, and so here at Warner Goodman we offer a variety of packages to suit your budget and your circumstances.  We have many years of experience working with people to help them through their divorce or Mediation, enabling them to move on with their lives.”

To find out more about the divorce packages offered by Warner Goodman you can visit their section of the website here, or to find out about Family Mediation click here.  You can contact the Family team to discuss your situation by calling 02380 717431 or emailing familyenquiries@warnergoodman.co.uk.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.