Britain's divorce hotspots revealed: are you at risk?

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Birmingham has been named the divorce hotspot of Britain, with more divorces than any other area. In second place is Weston-Super-Mare, and third is Leicester.

So where else makes the top ten, and are you at risk?
The list was published by the Ministry of Justice. It looked at all areas outside Greater London, and the total number of divorces seen by the court in each area.

It revealed that almost 3,000 couples filed for divorce at Birmingham Civil Justice Centre and Family Courts last year. This was followed by Weston-Super-Mare County Court with almost 2,500 couples and Leicester County Court with over 1,800.

Top 10

Birmingham Civil Justice Centre and Family Courts 2,799 divorces
Weston-Super-Mare County Court 2,437 divorces
Leicester County Court 1,831 divorces
Romford County Court 1,783 divorces
Coventry Combined Court Centre 1,776 divorces
Norwich Combined Court Centre 1,775 divorces
Bristol County Court 1,705 divorces
Croydon County Court 1,672 divorces
Nottingham County Court 1,611 divorces
Chelmsford County and Family Proceedings Court 1,567 divorces


Birmingham was always at risk of being on this list, because outside of London it's the biggest city. Birmingham doesn't have to have any specific qualities that drive people to divorce - it has sheer weight of population in its favour.

Weston-Super-Mare, meanwhile gets this dubious title partly from the fact that over 90% of divorces filed there are from one online divorce company. It was apparently advised to use the town by the government, because the courts had the capacity to deal with what turned out to be a flood of online divorces.

The cost

The figures were released to highlight the huge expense of divorce through the traditional route of employing lawyers and going to court. The Ministry of Justice highlighted that the average cost of a divorce settled by the courts is £4,000, and takes 435 days.

It is trying to persuade splitting couples to consider mediation as an alternative. Family Justice Minister Lord McNally said: "All too often I hear stories of families going through expensive and traumatic court hearings but we know that when working out how to split assets and arrange time with the children, mediation is a far simpler and cheaper approach for everyone and leads to better outcomes." He said the process was cheaper - at an average of £500 and quicker - taking an average of 110 days.

However, these costs are just a drop in the ocean compared to the massive financial hit couples take when trying to set up two households from one, split their home, their savings and their pensions. It's no surprise that divorce is still one of the most common reason for couples to spiral into debt.

So are you at risk?

Statistically, yes, some 42% of marriages now end in divorce. If you live in one of the hotspots on the list your chances may be higher, but even in an area with a low divorce rate, your odds aren't brilliant.

This isn't to argue that we need to go into a marriage with a negative view of the outcome. It just goes to show that there are five sensible precautions we ought to take just in case things don't turn out as we expect.

1. Retain some form of financial independence

This may mean emergency savings, a separate bank account, your own pension, or simply a commitment to understand and control your own finances so you have the power to take the reigns if needs be later.

2. Make sure you know where the money is

A cynical person might tell you that in divorce one or other of the parties may try to hide their wealth, so you need an idea of what is coming in, what is going out, and where any savings are held. A less cynical person might simply say that this is the best way to ensure you are both managing your money sensibly.

3. Keep on top of any debts

In this environment more and more couples are hiding debts from one another. If this comes out in the divorce process you will both be starting a very expensive time of your life on the back foot. You need to know about it before there's any sign of any problems, so you can deal with your debts together.

4. Think about how your money is held

If one of you has all the savings in their name - or the house - then it's up for argument in the event of a divorce. Just as if one of you holds all the debt, divorce will leave you in trouble. Joint assets and joint debts need to be held jointly for safety's sake.

5. Trust each other, but not blindly

Of course all relationships are built on trust, but all people are human too. You need to be able to trust the other one with joint finances and major financial decisions, but you need to be sure you still know what is going on - just in case your other half turns out to be more human than most.

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Britain's divorce hotspots revealed: are you at risk?

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