The impact of the recent near-collapse of the world banking system continues to be felt within families, with many people facing employment, money and housing problems as a direct result. Using data from a UK household survey, this paper explores the relationship between recession-related ‘justiciable' life problems and relationship stability. Around 4% of such problems were reported to have brought about a family break-up. Often this was also accompanied by other life problems, such as stress-related illness. The risk of families breaking up was also observed to increase following the experience of recession-related problems, with the risk remaining high for a number of years. Our findings point to the role of legal services in mitigating the impact of recession-related justiciable problems, as well as the family problems that can ensue. Of concern, those most likely to report a relationship breakdown as a consequence of a recession-related problem included those on low incomes. With another consequence of the economic downturn being a contraction of the legal aid scheme, this poses a real challenge to people's ability to access justice.