I noticed some interesting divorce and family statistics relating to the family law market today:
- At a Resolution event it was reported that the cost of relationship breakdown in the UK is in the region of £44 billion a year
- The Daily Telegraph ran a report on the hidden cost of divorce (based on a study by Aviva) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/divorce/11041341/The-hidden-cost-of-divorce.html that showed:
- The average spending on legal fees fell from £1,818 in 2006 to £1,280 as more couples opted for cheaper online services
- Separating couples spend up to £13,000 on hidden extras (on top of essential costs for legal fees and housing) that they feel they need to launch their new single lives. Joining a gym, a new wardrobe, a holiday or a new skill or hobby were mentioned. Other costs include an average of £1,277 on dating and £1,370 redecorating the home. Around one in 20 spent money on therapy or a life coach.
- The report concludes that a typical divorcing couple spends a total of £43,958 on the process – that’s £21,979 each and this is 57% higher than that from a similar survey conducted by Aviva in 2006
The ONS recently reported 118,140 divorces in 2012, up 0.5% on 2011. Between 2003 and 2009 there was a general downward trend in the number of divorces but in 2010 they rose 4.9%. Almost half of the divorces occurred in the first 10 years of marriage.
Analysing the recent census for England and Wales, the ONS also found 3.2 per cent of the 12.1 million dependent children had a second address belonging to another parent or guardian in 2011. Almost 400,000 kids are not living with both parents. I am surprised that there was no mention of the money spent on children in the Aviva study.
So, people are spending more getting divorced but less on legal services.
Family lawyers who are seeing their prices being squeezed by comparisons with cheap on-line solutions should perhaps consider “bundling” their services by developing partnerships with those providing services for life after divorce.