January sees the largest amount of divorce enquiries compared to any other month, with financial pressures (22%), especially over Christmas, cited as leading reason for increased relationship tensions.
Rows about money could cause more than one in 10 married couples to split in 2018, a new study shows – as divorce lawyers prepare for their busiest month of the year.
Twenty-two per cent of people have considered separating or divorcing their partner, with family finances cited as the main reason for relationships falling apart.
One in five (21 per cent) blame money worries on their partner, accusing them of overspending (43 per cent), refusing to save (32 per cent), failing to budget properly (30 per cent) or plan ahead for their future (26 per cent).
Sixteen per cent had argued with their husband or wife about money in the last seven days – and 23 per cent in the last fortnight. More than a quarter (26 per cent) said it caused the majority of their marital rows.
The top causes of tension also included working long hours, domestic responsibilities, not spending enough time together and lack of intimacy and sex. Fourteen per cent said the latter often felt ‘like a chore’, while nine per cent hadn’t made love to their partner for over a year. More than one in five couples (23 per cent) slept in separate rooms.
Eighteen per cent of couples admitted to rowing more over the festive season when spending more time together can mean marital troubles come to a head as a result.
Family lawyer, Lorraine Harvey, from Slater and Gordon, said: “People who contact us have generally spent months and sometimes years thinking about divorce, but fears of upsetting their families, being alone or left financially out of pocket have put them off.
“Although it is a happy time for many, relationships which are already showing cracks are likely to buckle under the added pressure and expense that Christmas brings.
“Money is always a common issue and if one person feels that their partner is not pulling their weight financially or at least trying to then it can very quickly cause resentment to grow.”
According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of divorce petitions filed last year increased by five per cent compared to 2015. The average marriage now lasts 12 years, with almost half (42 per cent) ending in divorce.
Unsurprisingly, infidelity remained a major trigger with 46 per cent admitting they could be driven to divorce if they found out their partner had cheated. More than one in 10 (12 per cent) already had, hiding a kiss with someone who wasn’t their partner, and eight per cent had covered up an affair or one night stand.
Just 17 per cent would talk to their partner if there was a problem in their relationship, with over one in four (26 per cent) admitting they sometimes worked late, went to the gym, the pub or made up another excuse to avoid going home.
Many also planned to cheat in 2018, with 15 per cent revealing they were likely to kiss someone and eight per cent to sleep with someone who wasn’t their husband or wife.
Lorraine added: “The first Monday back in work after the holiday is always a busy day for us, but I’ve had clients who have called me even earlier and this year particularly we’ve already seen a surge in new enquiries.
“I think many people see Christmas as their last shot at making a marriage work, but with all the added pressure and the perception that everyone else around them is happy it makes it even more difficult and is probably the worst time of the year to try.”
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