As our new Prime Minister tackles the cost-of-living crisis and soaring energy prices, I’ve noticed as a family lawyer, that financial stress is starting to take its toll on divorcing couples.
When a couple separates, the first matter at hand is the Cost-of-living crisis having an impact on divorce. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict what a person realistically needs to live on in the future and can be a bone of contention as families across the region are adjusting budgets and have to cut costs to make ends meet.
When divorcing, many couples have to divide assets and rehouse themselves and their children. This has to be done with a diminishing pot of money to both meet needs and fund the costs of two separate households. It is no easy feat, particularly as, despite talk of recession, house prices continue to defy expectations.
When divorcing, some parents with young children wish to hold onto the family home to provide stability. In recent times, spiralling utility bills and mortgage payments mean this may no longer be feasible. Even if one party can take over the mortgage in their sole name, they may not be able to maintain the costs of running the property day to day, meaning they may be forced to sell.
The increased cost of living is also affecting maintenance orders for those people who are already divorced and receive financial support from a former spouse. The amounts payable would have been put in place based on the recipient’s needs at the time of the original order. As the cost of utilities, fuel and food increases, the rate may no longer be sufficient to meet their needs, rendering the order not fit for purpose.
Many long-term maintenance orders are indexed linked which assists the recipient but causes difficulties for those paying if their wages have not increased in line with inflation. As such, some people can no longer afford to pay the same level as maintenance to their former spouse, leaving them in breach of the order.
So as you can see, the cost-of-living crisis and spiralling energy costs can seriously impact anyone either considering or already have gone through a divorce.