Divorce on the up in longer marriages according to survey

New research has suggested that one of the unexpected consequences of the recovering economy could be a rush to the divorce courts. Grant Thornton, a leading UK accountancy firm, surveyed leading family lawyers in their annual matrimonial law survey, and found that almost half of the divorce lawyers questioned said that they had been involved in fewer divorces due to the economic climate.

Nearly 4 out of 5 lawyers believed that the recession had forced people to delay getting divorced, and now that the economy has finally turned the corner and is beginning to grow, lawyers expect to see an increase in the volume of their divorce cases in the coming months.

Grant Thornton’s survey also found that more longer term married couples are getting divorced. In 2012, only 4% of lawyers stated that the majority of their divorce caseload was couples married more than 20 years, but this has now gone up to 14%.

63% of the lawyers who were questioned stated that the majority of their divorce work was with people who had been married between 11 and 20 years, and 86% of them agreed that the most common age to divorce was between 40 and 49. The most common reasons for divorcing are growing apart which was the main factor for 29% of lawyers, closely followed by having an affair at 24%. The other reasons given in the survey for starting divorce proceedings included unreasonable behaviour, money worries, stress, problems with a business, overwork, abuse or having a mid-life crisis.

Lawyers were also asked to predict how divorce work will change in the next decade, and 27% of them expected to see work in an advisory capacity increase. This includes work such as drawing up cohabitation agreements, or pre-marital agreements.

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