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More couples split over money worries, says national family law firm

Monday April 15, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Money troubles are causing more couples to seek divorce than ever before, a survey has revealed.

While sex in one form or another is still the number one factor mentioned when couples split – in 44 per cent of cases – money issues are now cited in 30 per cent of divorces, up from just 11 per cent five years ago when the last survey was carried out.

And with benefit cuts due to hit thousands of families across the country from April 2013, the fear is that the figure will be pushed even higher.

“It is clear that the continuing economic hard times are severely affecting people and money troubles are translating into more couples splitting up,” said Andrew Woolley of specialist family law firm, Woolley & Co.

“Money worries, which can range from disagreements over what is being spent to lack of income or pressures of losing a job, is now the second most common factor cited in divorce among the 210 recent cases we reviewed, being mentioned in 30 per cent of cases. When we last did this survey in 2008, it came well down the list at just 11 per cent.

“The change has been quite dramatic and when you look at the continuing depressed economy and the implementation of new policies, such as changes to benefits coming in this week and changes to legal aid, I can only see this figure rising further unless more is done to help families in crisis.

“On the other side of the coin, the frequency of social media being mentioned in divorces is down from 11 per cent to seven per cent, so fewer people are feeling the ’Facebook factor’.

“In addition, the instances of impact of lifestyle changes, such as the arrival of children or moving to a new area, being cited as the key trigger for divorce has dropped down to 28 per cent from 37 per cent.

“Analysing cases like this serves as a social barometer to the troubles that are affecting families across the country and can be used to focus minds on where wider social help can be given to help couples going through a hard time.”

The research was carried out by specialist family law firm Woolley & Co, Solicitors in a repeat of a survey last conducted among its lawyers based across England and Wales in 2008, covering 210 recent divorce cases. It gave five key reasons for divorce against which each of their last 10 cases could be categorised. These were sex, money, social media, power or lifestyle change.


In February 2013 twenty one of Woolley & Co’s lawyers were asked to look at their last 10 divorce cases and give the main reason for the break. More than one reason could be given for each case. An earlier survey was conducted in July 2008.

Reason 2008 Survey 2013 Survey
Sex (adultery, sexual preference etc) 43% 44%
Money (disagreements over, pressures of lost job etc) 11% 30%
Social media (Facebook, Friends Reunited effect) 11% 7%
Power (cruelty, violent, bullying etc) 21% 25%
Lifestyle changes (arrival of children, grown apart/want different things etc) 37% 28%
Sample size 110 210
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