More than a quarter of a million divorces delayed because of cost of living pressures
Research from insurer Legal & General has found than 272,000 people have delayed their divorce due to cost-of-living pressures, with 19% delaying due to financial problems.
The research found that despite holding off to spare their bank balances, nearly half of people who divorce (48%) see their income shrink by an average of 31% in the year after their separation, resulting in them having £9,700 less a year on average to live off.
Two out of five divorcees (40%) felt that they didn’t receive an equal split financially, with one party being favoured more than the other.
Yet despite this, only 7% of people consult a financial adviser as part of their divorce. And just 31% had signed a clean break order, meaning that more than two-thirds (69%) could be liable to a future claim from their ex.
Worryingly, women could also be more at risk of domestic abuse if they’re forced to remain in failing relationships.
According to Women’s Aid, almost three quarters of women (73%) living with - or having financial links to - their abuser said that the cost-of-living crisis had either prevented them from leaving or was making it harder for them to leave, which has left them at risk in an unsafe home.
Where you get help?
If you’re in immediate danger, call the police on 999.
If you require advice, support or more information, you can contact one of the following charities or organisations:
National Domestic Abuse helpline – 0808 200 247
Refuge – 0808 2000 247
Women’s Aid – 0203 984 6696
Keeping the cost of divorce to a minimum
According to the Money Helper website, if you’ve both agreed to end your relationship and your finances are straightforward, your divorce or dissolution should be relatively quick and cheap. You will still need to go through the legal process, but you might not need a solicitor.
You can fill in and send the court forms yourself - the form can be found here. This is the cheapest option as you’ll only have to pay court fees (£593). If you’re on a low income, you might also be entitled to financial support to cover the fees.
Some companies offer divorce or dissolution services online. They vary in price and offer different levels of help - it’s always worth checking what’s included. Most will help you with the divorce of dissolution paperwork but not with reaching a financial settlement.
Many high street solicitors offer a fixed fee for a divorce or dissolution. They’ll also offer fixed or capped fee to help sort out the finances.
What financial support is available if you’re struggling after divorce?
If you’re divorcing and your income has dropped, there are some benefits you could claim as a single person. You might also qualify for benefits, such as universal credit, if you’re now a lone parent and your children live with you all or most of the time.
Help with rent
If you’re renting, you might also get help towards the costs through housing benefit.
Help with council tax
If you are now the only adult in your house, you’ll also probably qualify for a single person’s discount (25%) on your council tax bill. You might also get help paying your council tax if you’re getting some benefits, such as universal credit. You’ll need to apply for this with your local council.
Help with energy bills, food, furniture and clothes
Your local council might also be able to offer you money or vouchers to help with energy and food costs. They might also be able to help with buying school uniform, white goods, and essential furniture with money from the household support fund. What you get will depend on how your local council has decided to spend its allocation. Contact your local council for more information.
If you’re divorcing, you might also need to update your details for child benefit.
Child benefit can only be paid to one person and it’s important that it is paid to the main carer. This is usually the parent the children live with most of the time.
If your ex-partner is receiving it, you might not get the money unless they choose to pass it on to you.
You can update who gets child benefit and report any change of circumstances on the gov.uk website or call 0300 200 3100.
Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.
23 Feb 2024
With experts suggesting the nosedive in the number of people getting divorced in England and Wales could be down to the cost-of-living crisis, we suggest ways you can cut costs as a singleton.
23 Feb 2024
A survey has revealed how unaffordable childcare has become, with 85% of parents saying they probably won't have any more children due to the cost
20 Feb 2024
Home insurance premiums have increase for households across the country. Find out why and what you can do to make savings when you come to renew