In 2022, the cost of living surged dramatically due to surging energy bills, higher interest rates, and an overall increase in the cost of food and fuel. As a result, people across the country are undoubtedly experiencing a significant financial impact. For couples considering separation or divorce, many are wondering how this crisis will affect their situation.
Living together post-separation may be a feasible option for some couples due to financial constraints, but it may not be appropriate in cases where the living situation has become hostile. Ultimately, when a relationship ends, the finances of one household will need to be divided between two households. This will inevitably cause financial strain for both parties and affect the entire family.
When going through a separation, it is necessary to divide finances, property, pensions, and debt between you and your partner. However, concerns about financial instability, combined with the uncertainty of increasing legal fees, may lead you to question whether you can afford to proceed with a divorce, especially given the current economic climate.
It is important to note that the legal process of divorce has become significantly simpler since the introduction of “no fault” divorce in April 2022. The process can now be completed independently through the government website, with the assistance of free guidance and support available. However, the financial aspect of the process, which deals with the division of finances, is typically handled separately and may require the advice and guidance of a solicitor.
It is important to consider that the method you choose to divide your money and property can greatly affect the cost of your divorce. For instance, engaging in a court battle with your ex involving barristers and solicitors can result in expenses of tens of thousands of pounds. Conversely, if you and your spouse can come to a mutual agreement, you can hire a solicitor to formalize the agreement into a consent order, which can be approved by the court at significantly lower costs.
Another factor that may affect the decision to divorce during the cost-of-living crisis is timing. There is a common misconception that the court will only consider your financial position at the time of separation. However, in reality, the court looks at your financial position at the time of divorce, which may be significantly different from the time of separation. This difference in timing could lead to increased costs or complications with regards to taxes.
However, the most significant consideration when deciding to divorce during the cost-of-living crisis is the impact on your emotional health and the well-being of your family as a whole. Staying in an unhappy marriage for the sake of the children has been shown to be detrimental to their well-being. Despite the challenging economic conditions, the better long-term option for the family may be for the parents to divorce, particularly in cases where there is a high-conflict home environment. Financial difficulties and uncertainty can add additional pressure to relationships, and if a marriage has already broken down, it may create a toxic living situation.