As the cost of living rises, so too does the pressure on fractured families
The Bank of England has warned that the UK will very soon fall into a 15-month recession. Interest rates are currently at 1.75%, which is the steepest rise in almost 30 years. Inflation has also surged to a 40-year high as it looks to soon exceed 13%. This economic slowdown is a major concern for us all, but those people thinking about separation or divorce have additional reasons to be worried about what the future holds.
Families feeling the pinch
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the ongoing cost of living crisis has led to an increasing number of people cutting back on spending on food and fuel, not just on the non-essentials. The latest figures show that 46 million people say that they have had to change their spending habits and 13% people in England are thought to be using credit (credit cards, loans or overdrafts) more than usual to cope with rising costs.
This crisis may well be forcing unhappy couples and families to stay together against their wishes because people are worried that they cannot afford the costs of either living alone or as a single parent not to mention the cost of the divorce itself.
Are unhappy couples staying together because they cannot afford to leave?
In the wake of the pandemic, divorce and separation enquiries to UK law firms continue to rise. As a result of the nationwide lockdowns, matrimonial and cohabitation disputes increased. Similarly, the pandemic has led to a sharp upsurge of domestic violence incidents. Couples and families are now having to deal with mounting pressures and tension affected by the decline in the general standard of living.
At the moment, it is unclear just what impact the pandemic and cost of living crisis has had on actual divorce applications. However, the most recent statistics show a 25% drop in matrimonial applications and a 13% drop in new divorce cases in the last quarter of 2021.
These figures lead to an obvious conclusion, particularly in the context of the current soar in divorce enquiries: many couples and/or families who should not be together within the same household are still living together.
Not just a problem for low or average income families
The impending recession poses major concerns not just for divorcing couples in low/average-income households, but also for those people who could be classed as high earners. For most people contemplating divorce, they may be hoping to keep the family home and take on the responsibility for their children. With experts warning that the average energy bill predicted to climb to nearly £4,000 a year from January 2023, people are concerned about taking on sole responsibility for the home and children would allow them to pay their bills.
Higher earners contemplating divorce/separation may well be looking at taking on responsibility for a large mortgage or more than one mortgage. Those people have reason to be worried that ever-increasing interest rates will make it impossible to keep up payments in the future. Division of family finances will have to take into account the impending rise in energy bills.
There are always options
The UK may well be facing an inevitable recession and, as the cost of living continues to rise, there will be many people in unhappy relationships or fractured families who feel trapped. It is vital that those people reach out and seek specilaist advice from a family solicitor because there are always options and a way in which to resolve the situation. We can offer some family law services at a fixed fee.
We can provide specialist family law advice to you if you are considering separation or divorce. We are specialists in divorce, matrimonial finance matters and financial settlements. If you have any questions about the issues mentioned here or any other related family law matters, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our experienced solicitors are available to help.
For specialist advice on any family law related issue contact Maguire Family Law by email: email@example.com or telephone: