Insight

Reasons for divorce vs state of the economy infographic

Marriage is supposed to be for better or worse but how sturdy is it in a depressed economy?

Grant Thornton’s Boom or bust for divorce? survey, released this summer, saw family lawyers predicting a fall in the number of UK divorces as couples discover they can’t afford to split. But, as our new divorce infographic shows, rows over finances are on the rise. Read on to see how this – and other reasons for divorce – have changed between 2003 and 2008.

The ‘Reasons for divorce’ infographic shows the total number of divorces in each year, as well as a graph of the UK’s financial account as an economic indicator. It then breaks down the main reasons couples have filed for divorce from 2003-2008.

Just click through the years to see how the ‘They love you, they love you not’ petals change. Discover, for example, how adultery remains a constant, while mid-life crises and work issues fluctuate.

Financial problems appeared on the radar only in 2005 – and, since then, have more than doubled as a reason to fall out of love.

After the credit crunch hit in summer 2007, a barrage of headlines reported banks teetering, volatility in the stock market and economic forecasts being revised downwards.

As the economy headed towards recession in 2008, corporate belt-tightening and loss of jobs followed. In the home, economic hardship and rows over money presumably began to place a strain on relationships. In 2003-2004, financial problems were negligible as a reason for divorce; in 2008, they were cited in 11% of divorce cases.

And yet, divorce is actually less likely in a recession.

In the US, the number of divorces filed is down 40% this year, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers – a phenomenon the NY Daily News dubbed ‘sleeping with the enemy’.

As Grant Thornton’s annual matrimonial survey suggests, couples may struggle to afford the cost of splitting, with investments and other assets falling in value, and perhaps a joint property acting as a ball and chain in a stagnant housing market.

So, while rows may be on the rise, the economic incentive to split is reduced, potentially acting as marital recession-proofing. It remains to be seen if the divorce dam will burst in 2010 as the economy moves into a recovery period – or if time will resolve the rows.