Tuesday, March 24, 2009


"Divorce parties"?
Originally uploaded by wwhyte1968
No one seems to be talking about the effect the recession will have on divorces, so I thought I would.
Divorces are not fun. Firstly in the period leading up to one of you moving out, you ask yourself a hundred times if there is something you can do to make it right again, to fall back in love, to be happy again, you drown in guilt towards your kids, wondering if you have the right to be happy by divorcing. It takes a long time to realize that your kids will not be happy with a miserable parent. When you use all your energy just to stay, you have no energy left to be a happy parent.
When you finally move out, where do you move to? You don't have the finances to just buy another house further down your street. You are disrupting the kids' lives so you don't want to drag them to another town and school if it can be avoided. I spent a year driving mine from the city back here at 6-45 every morning to keep them in the school with their friends. That's costly and tiring. Then there's the joint property. Either you sell your house and split the proceeds, or one of you buys out the other doubling your mortgage on one income. At the same time you try to draw up a separation agreement and a custody agreement with your ex paying around £150 an hour to your lawyer. This easily costs more than £2000. You also have to pay eachother out of each other's pension plan. When the two year separation deadline finally comes and you've been desperate to reach that deadline for two years, because the time spent deciding what was best was the year before you walked out not the two years they make you wait, you then have another several thousand pound lawyer's bill for the actual divorce.
Let's analyse the steps:
  • Pay several thousand pounds to a lawyer - during a recession people are losing their jobs or simply under the threat of losing them so you don't want to pay thousands to a lawyer. You don't want to use your savings, you can no longer get a loan because of the credit crunch. If you are still clinging to your job by the skin of your teeth or your partner is, you don't get any legal aid.
  • Sell your house - you can't the housing market has collapsed.
  • Buy a house - you can't - you can't get a mortgage.
  • Pay your ex half of your pension upfront - you can't - the pension funds aren't available and you can't get a loan.
So if I was planning to walk out today instead of back in 2006, I have to conclude I couldn't. I can't begin to imagine getting to the stage where you need to get divorced for your mental well being but you are unable to because of the credit crunch. The levels of stress some couples must be under at present is unimaginable. Ironically, I imagine the stress caused by redundancies and house repossessions are probably actually increasing rather than decreasing the number of people wanting to divorce. I can't begin to imagine being in their position.

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