Divorce costs hit £44,000 per couple

Broken rings

Divorce costs have now hit an average of £21,979 per person, or £43,958 per couple, a study has found.

The figures indicate the cost of divorce has risen by 57% since 2006, when the cost of a legal separation was around £28,000 per couple, Aviva said.

It added that, while legal fees for divorce fell from £1,818 to £1,280 in that period, the cost of moving house and child maintenance payments led to the overall figure rocketing.

The study also found most newly-divorced people splash out on items for themselves following a split, with one in eight people (13%) taking a holiday to celebrate their newly-single status at a typical cost of £1,925. The same percentage treated themselves to gadgets and technology treats at an average spend of £1,292.

Four out of 10 respondents said they were financially worse off following their separation and more than half of couples (53%) took longer than six months to settle financial matters. The typical time to settle was 11.5 months, but one in 10 couples (11%) said the process took more than two years.

Collectively, the study indicates that UK couples spend £5.7 billion getting divorced. Couple were together, on average, for 10 years and eight months before separating, with the average age of divorcees 38 years and two months. Two thirds (66%) of separating couples had joint finances.

Reviewing money matters

Louise Colley, protection director for Aviva, says: "Two thirds of couples who are married or co-habiting have some shared finances, so these arrangements can take some time to unravel if a relationship unfortunately breaks down.

"Beginning again following a separation can be a daunting time, not to mention a busy one, but it's crucial that newly-single people review money matters when their circumstances change.

"For example, if someone becomes the sole income earner for their family unit, it's important they think about what they might do if they were unable to work, for example through illness or injury."

Typical divorce costs in the UK (per person):

Legal fees: £1,280
Annual child maintenance payments: £3,371
Buying a new home: £94,100
Setting up new home e.g. furniture, white goods: £5,280
Buying a car / other vehicle: £3,880
Redecorating previous shared home: £1,370
Annual childcare costs as a result of separation: £4,320
Legal fees over child custody arrangements: £3,300
Post-separation holiday: £1,925
Gadgets / technology e.g. TV / sound system: £1,292
Learning a new skill / taking up a hobby: £2,105
Dating: £1,277
Entertainment / gifts for children: £1,595
Life coaching / therapy: £1,853
New clothes, jewellery, makeover: £1,483
Gym / personal trainer / get fit regime: £1,535

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Mediation has to be the way forward for a cheaper settlement.