Divorce enquiries “up by 250 per cent”, study reveals

Divorce enquiries increased by around 250 per cent during the first and second national lockdown, a major study has revealed.

The report, published by Legal & General, is among the first to highlight the true impact of the pandemic on relationships and the financial implications.

According to the research, coronavirus restrictions have “created a strain” on marriages and civil partnerships. Nationwide social distancing measures, for example, have prevented couples from seeing support networks and maintaining hobbies and interests.

And this has led to an increase in interest in divorce, said the authors. Citizens Advice, a charity which offers confidential advice to families, revealed that views of its divorce webpage were up 25 per cent in September 2020 compared to the same period a year ago.

Likewise, divorce lawyers revealed that divorce enquiries increased by some 250 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019.

Separate research also found that more than half of couples said the coronavirus pandemic had “hit their relationship hard”, with one in five (18 per cent) of those citing financial difficulties or worries. A further one in four (27 per cent) reported that “homeschooling” has had a negative impact on their relationship.

When broken down by age, the study reveals that over-50s are most at risk of financial distress following divorce during the coronavirus pandemic. According to Legal & General, more than one-third of people over the age of 50 see their incomes reduce after a divorce, with an average fall of £10,650.

The figures come ahead of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill, which received royal assent last year. Described as a “landmark” moment, the new laws will remove the requirement to prove one of five grounds of divorce, such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, or two or five years of separation.

For family law support, including mediation, arbitration and court representation, please get in touch Alison Green, Head of our Family and Relationships team at Mackrell.Solicitors. 

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Alison Green
Alison joined Mackrell.Solicitors in 1989 and qualified as a solicitor in 1991, becoming a partner in the firm in 2010. Her expertise covers matrimonial work, including divorce and the associated financial and children issues; pre and post-nuptial agreements; co-habitation disputes; civil partnership agreements and the breakdown of civil partnerships.