Cygnet Law is predicting that the UK’s record high household debt could lead to a surge in divorces in the near future.
John Robinson, a director and divorce specialist at Redcar-based Cygnet Law, is warning that record levels of household debt may lead to a sudden increase in the number of divorces if the UK’s debt bubble bursts in 2017.
The latest research from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) shows that unsecured debt, excluding mortgages, has reached a record high of £349 billion, which is the equivalent of £12,887 per household, meaning that debt now averages at 27.4% of household income nationally.
Mr Robinson explains: “Historically we have seen an increase in divorce rates during times of economic hardship. Financial concerns can put a serious strain on a relationship and people reach a breaking point where they feel they can no longer go on.
“Whilst employment has risen in the North East, wages still equate to less spending power than they did a few years ago. People are feeling the pinch and supplementing their income with credit cards and loans. It seems that, for now, most people are able to cope with this extra debt, but with a tumultuous year ahead of us in the form of a new American president and the triggering of Article 50, this may well change which would mean that their financial circumstances could change dramatically very quickly.
“I’ve dealt with thousands of divorces over the years and know all too well how debt can impact on a marriage. In some cases, debt leads to secrecy as people try to hide money trouble from their partners, perhaps because they are scared or embarrassed. Other times, one partner can feel as though the debt is the fault of the other, which in turn breeds resentment.”
Mr Robinson added: “Of course, I would always recommend that any couple who feel their relationship is at breaking point due to money worries to seek help first and foremost. This could be from the local Citizens Advice Bureau or another similar organisation.”