Government launches online divorce calculator

A government body has set up an online divorce calculator aimed at helping couples, both married and cohabiting, work out how much they stand to lose or gain by separating.

Unhappy couple
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The Consumer Financial Education Body's new online tool uses information about income, outgoings, assets and children, to establish the benefits, or otherwise, to each spouse.

Supporters say it will enable those considering divorce or separation to reduce the cost of hiring lawyers and help them to decide on the future.

However, critics insist that the tool will simply encourage couples to split rather than attempt to work on their marriage.

The calculator encourages users to impart information such as pay, benefits, pensions and bank interest as well as outgoings such as mortgage payments, household bills and other debts. And it warns that failure to include the other half's details may affect the result.

Once all the information has been keyed in, a sliding scale enables couples to see just how much they would receive, depending on the demands they make in the split.

Dr David Green, of think-tank Civitas, told the Daily Mail: "It disregards the sanctity of marriage. To reduce it to monetary consequences, as if that is the predominant concern, is pretty deadly to any civilisation.

'If you draw up a list of things that are important when weighing up whether or not to get divorced, you wouldn't start with the financial consequences - you would start with your children."

However, a CFEB spokesman defended the move, pointing out that it simply provides impartial advice for people on the verge of making such a difficult decision.

What do you think? Will the divorce calculator prove useful for unhappy couples or encourage divorce? Leave your comments below...