Brits spend over £4 billion on divorce

Article date: 13 December 2006

  • Norwich Union "Cost of Divorce" research reveals spendingon break-ups doubles in three years

This year will be remembered as the "big-money break up year"with Paul McCartney, Reese Witherspoon and Britney Spears allannouncing their marriages are over.

However it’s not just celebrities who are seeing divorcebills soar. New research out today reveals failed marriages arecosting the nation a massive £4.3 billion - with almost two-thirds(£2.5 billion) being funded by couples’ personalsavings.

Despite divorce rates falling, Norwich Union’s "Cost ofDivorce" survey reveals that couples now spend an average of£28,000 when a marriage ends - twice the amount spent in2003.

And whilst separating couples traditionally sold their home tofinance a divorce, Norwich Union’s research reveals thatalmost half (48%) of divorcees are opting instead to dip into anaverage of £8,000 of their personal savings.

A further two in five (40%) admit their divorce had a significantimpact on their disposable income.

Other findings from the Norwich Union "Cost of Divorce" surveyrevealed:

  • One in five (18%) divorcees admitted they treated themselvesto something they would not otherwise have bought following theirdivorce and those who chose a makeover spent an average of £1,125on updating their look
  • 62% of couples had shared finances to dissolve ondivorcing
  • British divorcees are embracing pre-nuptial agreements whichhave quadrupled in popularity in the last three years
  • Over half (52%) of divorcees would like to see current divorcelaws changed to offer greater protection
  • Surprisingly, despite the soaring cost of divorce, anoptimistic 45% of divorcees reported that they were still open tomarriage.

Simon Quick of Norwich Union, said: “Divorce is always adifficult time for families and can often be a long, drawn outprocess taking 12 months or longer to resolve. Not only is it anemotionally stressful time but the experience can add to moneyworries and increase pressure on the family wallet.

“We undertook this research to look at the financial effectsof divorce faced by our customers, and with an average of £8,000 ofsavings being used by each divorcee, it is obviously important thatwe can help them plan for their future.”

Paul Westcott of divorce law firm Last Cawthra Feather added:“Changes in divorce law this year and high-profile cases havemade couples more aware that if they do divorce, the process can bemade easier by considering and recording what each partner broughtto the marriage at the outset. We have seen a surge of interest inpre-nuptial agreements in recent months, and the outcome of theMcCartney divorce could see them become the norm rather than onlyfor the cynical.”

-ends-

For Norwich Union press office,contact:
Louise Soulsby
Telephone: 01904 452617/07800 699526
E-mail: louise.soulsby@norwich-union.co.uk 

Cheryl Cox
Telephone: 01904 452 791/07800 695 275
E-mail: cheryl.cox@norwich-union.co.uk 

Robert Pell
Telephone: 01904 452 659/07800 699 563
E-mail: robert.pell@norwich-union.co.uk 

For Lexis PR, contact:
CatherineGreenwood
Telephone: 0207 908 6474
E-mail: cgreenwood@lexispr.com

Sara Barrow
Telephone: 0207 908 6481
E-mail: sbarrow@lexispr.com 

Sharan Chaggar
Telelphone: 0207 908 6519
E-mail: schaggar@lexispr.com

Notes to editors:

  • * This figure does not include allowance for inflation orpopulation changes.
  • Research was carried out on behalf of Norwich Union by TheSurvey Shop, who surveyed 400 divorced people nationwide, duringOctober 2006
  • Norwich Union undertook the last "Cost of Divorce" research inJune 2003
  • Other sources: ONS.

'Cost of divorce’ calculator 2006:

Cost

Average amount per person

Proportion who spent

National cost

Legal fees

£1,818

51%

£283.142m

Maintenance payments

£3,456

22%

£232.187m

Setting up a new home

£5,146

41%

£644.309m

Child care costs

£196

12%

£7.183m

Buying a second car

£3,221

14%

£137.708m

Treats: ie holidays, shopping spree etc

£2,335.68

18%

£713.270m

First year’s mortgage or rent

£6,000

28%

£513.038m

Personal savings

£16,660

48%

£2.442bn

Total

£4325.317m (£4.3bn)


Cost per person = £14,164

‘Cost of divorce’ calculator 2003:

Cost

Average amount per person

Proportion who spent

National cost

Legal fees

£1,668

52%

£272.351m

Maintenance payments

£3,324

15%

£156.560m

Setting up a new home

£2,638

51%

£422.449m

Child care costs

£1,685

16%

£84.654m

Buying a second car

£3,358

12%

£126.529m

Treats: ie holidays, shopping spree etc

£6,510

16%

£327.068m

First year’s mortgage or rent

£6,000

35%

£659.400m

Personal savings

£6,250

41%

£804.625m

Total

£2049.011m (£2bn)


Cost per person = £6,525

About Norwich Union
NorwichUnion is the UK’s largest general insurer with a market shareof around 15%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses.

It is a leading provider of life, pensionsand investment products and one of the largest financial adviser(FA) providers. FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-termsavings business in the UK.

Norwich Union’s news releases and a selection of images areavailable from Aviva's internet press centre atwww.aviva.com/media

About Last Cawthra Feather
Last Cawthra Feather, a Legal500 firm with offices throughout Yorkshire, has 14 partners and 135employees. Visit www.lcf.co.uk for more information.

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