Divorce applications to surge in the new year with no fault divorces
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According to Divorce-Online, one of the UK’s largest divorce companies, predicts divorce applications will surge in the New Year after no-fault divorce was made available in England and Wales in Spring 2022.
Divorce filings traditionally run from January to March, with some commentators dubbing the first week of January “Divorce Week”.
They believe the availability and accessibility of divorce being granted a divorce is another contributing factor to the new year increase, with it now possible to file for divorce without stating a reason for it.
The impact of the pandemic and recession on marriages
According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), contributing factors towards divorce most commonly include recession and lockdown:
- In 2021, there were 113,505 divorces granted in England and Wales, a 9.6% increase compared with 2020 when there were 103,592 divorces.
- The number and timelines of divorces granted during 2020 may have been affected by disruption to family court activities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; the increase in divorces granted in 2021 may partially reflect these delays as well as the impact of the pandemic on divorce applications.
- Unreasonable behaviour was the most common reason for females petitioning for divorce among opposite-sex couples in 2021, accounting for 48.1% of applications; for males, the most common reasons for divorce were unreasonable behaviour or two-year separation, which both accounted for 34.8% of applications.
During recessions such as 1990-1991, 2008-2009, and 2020, divorce rates spiked as more unhappy households were created. With the cost-of-living crisis placing pressure on married couples across the UK, the online company predict history could be set to repeat itself.
The impact of the pandemic has also been outlined as a contributing factor to the sudden increase in divorce rate.
Whilst the last UK lockdown took place in December 2020, travel restrictions and a lack of work-life balance put a strain on both new and old marriages.
As a result, more and more people are turning to Divorce-Online for efficient and affordable divorces. Reflecting on the expected increase in rates, the company’s founders commented: “Although divorce is now easier, people need to be aware that the divorce itself is only the start and resolving finances is key to clean divorce.
Kitchen table settlements
The divorce website has also seen a big spike in kitchen table settlements.
Kitchen table settlements are defined as when unhappy spouses, unable to afford lawyers, agree on arrangements between themselves.
Surveying over 1500 couples who had chosen their in-house financial consent order service in 2022, the site found that over 50% had not consulted a lawyer before filing.
Whilst regarded as a sensible and efficient starting point by the site, the company also warned of its danger, with many kitchen table settlements leading to lengthier disputes later down the line.