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Divorce ‘Too Easy’, Say Britons
More than half of Britons believe that it is too easy to get divorced.
A survey by one of the country’s leading law firms has found that even though the vast majority of people regard divorce as a more acceptable part of modern life, 57 per cent feel that it is too easy for married couples to separate.
Those questioned by Pannone also thought marriages were more likely to fall apart because of tensions caused by infidelity rather than money worries or rows about children and housework.
Fiona Wood, a Partner in Pannone’s Family department, said the survey findings underlined how marriage is still felt to be an important commitment despite significant changes in recent years in the nature of relationships.
“My experience as a divorce lawyer is that the vast majority of those who divorce only do so after making great efforts to save their marriages. They have tended to view divorce as a last resort.
“However, it would appear that people believe that some of those who marry are too willing to walk away from domestic difficulties.
“Even those who choose to cohabit rather than marry feel those who have wed should be doing all they can to make things work.
“It may well be that coverage of celebrities who go their separate ways after only a relatively short period of married life has perhaps influenced the public’s views of divorced couples as a whole.”
More than 2,000 men and women took part in the survey, which was conducted on Pannone’s behalf by ICM Research. They included individuals who were single, married, divorced, cohabiting and widowed.
Two-thirds believed that infidelity by either spouse was likely to be the principal cause of divorce. Just over half felt married couples were most likely to break-up because they had begun to lead different lives while one-quarter named problems managing money as the main reason for separation.
Only 18 per cent considered disputes about domestic duties were mainly to blame for divorce.
Results of the research come only weeks before official divorce figures for 2011 are due to be made public by the Office for National Statistics.
Last December, the ONS revealed that the number of divorces in England and Wales in 2010 had risen to 119,589, an increase of 4.9 per cent on the previous year.
The same body has since revealed that although the number of marriages in 2010 was 3.7 per cent higher than the previous year, there were almost half a million fewer married couples than in 1996. That compared with a near doubling in the number of couples choosing to cohabit over the same period of time.
Both Pannone’s research and the forthcoming ONS divorce data are being made as the Law Commission prepares to close a consultation about how married couples divide their assets. The results of that process, which was launched in September, are to be included in a report scheduled for publication in early 2013.