Top law firms say the “looming storm” of spiralling energy bills, rising inflation, and the possibility of a UK recession is fuelling a sharp increase in divorce inquiries. The energy cap, set at £1,400-a-year in October last year, is expected to top £4,200 by January next year and the Government is now planning for blackouts and gas shortages.
Nick Gova, managing associate at law firm Cripps, said the dire situation, including inflation at a 40-year high, has “focused many couples’ minds on considering their financial position and how best to weather the looming storm over the next 12 to 18 months”.
He added: “The current cost-of-living crisis has definitely accelerated divorce for many. We have received an influx of new inquiries where individuals are wanting to know where they stand if proceedings were commenced immediately and how quickly a financial resolution could be achieved.”
Stowe Family Law managing partner Amanda Phillips-Wylds said her firm received a record number of divorce inquiries last month, whereas summer months are ordinarily quiet periods.
“An unprecedented number of inquiries have cited financial woes as the driving force behind the divorce, highlighting the wide-reaching impacts the cost-of-living crisis is having,” she said. “We have gathered insight revealing that over half of British marriages are on shaky ground because they don’t have enough money coming in.”
She added that divorce courts should also prepare as the cost-of-living crisis eases, when splitting couples believe they will be able financially to go it alone. “We can expect the floodgates to open further as a new wave of couples suffering in silence come out of the woodwork,” she said.
Graham Coy, a partner at Wilsons, drew a parallel with the aftermath of the 2008 economic collapse, when there was a sharp increase in divorces. “Financial worries can prove to be the last straw,” he said. “There is every reason to think what we saw in the late 2000s will happen again with unquantifiable damage to families.” A new law allowing “no-fault divorces”, passed in April, may also be contributing to couples separating.