According to figures due to be released on Thursday by the Office for National Statistics, almost six out of ten people in the UK believe that divorce is too easy according to polling on attitudes to marriage and separation.
The figures are expected to show high divorce rates after the longest period of economic hard times that we’ve experienced since World War II. Figures released last year showed a surprising five per cent increase in divorce rates in just under a decade.
However, divorce solicitors say that their number of cases has remained consistent or has grown since then, indicating another possible increase. The current economic climate looks has though it could be affecting divorce numbers in two ways: putting relationships under strain whilst also making divorce cases more acrimonious as couples fight over assets.
In addition, some divorce lawyers are predicting an increase in divorce cases once the recession ends, as a result of a surge in divorces amongst couples who have been putting off their divorce for financial reasons.
Despite the pressure of economic hardship on married life, the Office for National Statistics’ figures show that two thirds of those who responded thought that infidelity by one or other spouses is the main factor for divorce, ahead of money problems, housework or children. 57% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that “it is too easy to divorce these days.”
A seemingly endless stream of stories about celebrity divorces could be helping to reinforce the view that it is too easy to divorce, according to Fiona Wood, a partner in family law at Pannone: “My experience as a divorce lawyer is that the vast majority of those who divorce only do so after making great efforts to save their marriages,” she said.
“They have tended to view divorce as a last resort.
“However, it would appear that people believe that some of those who marry are too willing to walk away from domestic difficulties.
“Even those who choose to cohabit rather than marry feel those who have wed should be doing all they can to make things work.
“It may well be that coverage of celebrities who go their separate ways after only a relatively short period of married life has perhaps influenced the public’s views of divorced couples as a whole.”