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Divorce lawyers prepare for busy month

Date:8 JAN 2009

Divorce lawyers have reported a three-fold increase in the number of appointments to file for divorce compared to the same period in 2008.

The rush to divorce is being attributed to the financial downturn coupled with the traditional increase of divorce applications after the Christmas break.

According to a survey conducted for online advice centre InsideDivorce.com, two million couples in Britain were suffering marital difficulties and 1.3 million people were considering splitting up.

The survey also found that 17 per cent of marriages are entirely sexless, a potential trigger of infidelity and cited by two in five (38 per cent) people as key factor for divorce.

The researchers found that prenuptial agreements are still unusual, used by just 2 per cent of people who were divorced or married. Nearly a third (28 per cent) of those who had no agreement said in hindsight they regretted the decision not to arrange finances before marriage.

The researchers surveyed 700 married, divorced, separated and cohabiting adults across the UK.

Sandra Davis, Head of Family Law at Mishcon de Reya said: "Alongside the annual pilgrimage to the January sales is the January rush to the divorce lawyers office.

"We are seeing this trend in an even stronger way this year with increasing numbers of clients making appointments and assume this is the case countrywide.

"When money flies out of the window loves walks out of the door. In good times money papers over the cracks in a relationship; in bad times fault lines become divorce suits."

Relate, the UK's largest provider of relationship counselling, has also seen an increase in the number of people contacting them for advice.

Denise Knowles, a relationship counsellor for Relate said: "This is always a busy time for Relate and divorce lawyers, and I'm not surprised that it's up this year.

"When we have things like this, if you have a robust relationship it stands a reasonable chance of survival. But for one that's hanging on in there, this can be the proverbial final straw.

"If a couple has never had to manage difficult times and always had plenty, they can feel inadequate or less able to manage."