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-Cost of Marriage and Divorce 2003-11-13

Posted by clype in Money, Statistics.

Getting ‘hitched’ and getting ‘unhitched’ are two of the most expensive things you can do.

In today’s ‘Rip-Off’ Britain getting married can cost you a fortune.

The bill for the average wedding now comes to 14 000 GBP.

But few of us realise that ‘untying the knot’ can cost almost as much.

A survey published last month, 2003-10, by ‘Norwich Union’ found that the average divorce in Britain now costs 13 000 GBP, that’s just 1 000 GBP less than the price of ‘getting hitched’ in the first place.

The cost of renting or buying another home alone could set you back 6 000 GBP. With 157 000 marriages ending in divorce every year in Britain the total amount spent by divorcées comes to an annual bill of more than 2 000 million GBP.

Property problems:

The survey found that property is the biggest item on the bill with more than a third (35 per cent) forced to sell their home to cover the cost of their divorce. Becoming an ‘ex’ also means raiding personal savings to supplement funds. Some 41 per cent use — on average — 6 250 GBP from a savings account. That equates to a national withdrawal of around 800 million_GBP/year.

Lots of stress too:

Divorce tops the ‘grief’ list with almost half (46 per cent) of those surveyed ranking it as the most stressful experience– above bereavement and redundancy. And because of this, 40 per cent of divorcées said they would never marry again. A typical divorce settlement takes more than a year to negotiate — but 60 per cent of those questioned said they ended their marriages amicably.

Other facts and figures:

The survey also highlighted other key money and personal issues for divorcees. Among them:

  • 28 percent of respondents found it stressful to adjust to single parenthood and 26 per cent found it hard to establish a new social circle.
  • Maintenance payments were paid or received by less than a third (30 per cent) of people interviewed. Some 6 per cent agreed a lump sum payment.
  • One in five people (20 per cent) spend cash on items that they would not have bought if not divorced, with a holiday coming out as the top treat and a shopping spree a close second.
  • Only 2 per cent of people questioned had a ‘Pre-nuptial Agreement’ but more than one in four said they would have been better off had they had one drawn up prior to their wedding.
  • Legal experts remained the primary source of practical advice during a divorce with 51 per cent turning to their solicitor for guidance. A further 35 per cent looked to family for support while 30 per cent relied on friends. Only 7 per cent valued advice from support organisations or counsellors.

According to ‘Norwich Union’, here’s how the average cost of 13 000 GBP for a couple getting divorced breaks down. The table below shows the typical costs incurred and the proportion of divorcees who paid them.

Cost Average amount per person/ GBP Proportion who spent/ per cent National cost/ million GBP
Legal fees 1 668 52 272.351
Maintenance payments 3 324 15 156.560
Setting up a new home 2 638 51 422.449
Child care costs 1 685 16 84.654
Buying a second car 3 358 12 126.529
Treats (holidays etc) 6 510 16 327.068
First year’s mortgage or rent 6 000 35 659.400

So if you add up the numbers in the final column of the table you get the national expenditure on divorce
— just over 2 000 million GBP/year. Divide that figure by the number of divorces /year (157 000) and you get the amount every couple spends — just over 13 000 GBP, or 6 525 GBP/divorcée.

So it’s worth being sure he or she is ‘the one’ well before you walk up the aisle!

‘Which costs more – a wedding or a divorce?’, Matt Ball, MSN Money, 2003-11-12.


1. vyne - 2008-07-22

so it’s cheaper to have an annulment?
is that what you’re trying to say?

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