Divorcing couples face costs of £14,500 to get lives back on track - report

The average cost of getting over a divorce is now more than £14,500 per couple, a report has found.

Couples typically spend £14,561 on legal and lifestyle costs when they divorce or separate, an increase of 17% since 2014 when the total was £12,432, according to the findings from Aviva's Family Finances Report.

The total, which equates to just over £7,280 for each partner, takes into account factors such as legal fees, setting up a new home or redecorating a previously shared one and childcare costs - as well as costs associated with starting afresh, such as getting back into the dating scene, splashing out on a new wardrobe or jewellery and taking up a new hobby or skill.

On average, money matters take 14-and-a-half months to settle after a split, the research among over 1,000 people who have previously divorced or separated found.

Aviva said increases to legal bills were partly behind the rising divorce costs seen in recent years.

Among the people it surveyed, legal fees were found to be the most common cost when a relationship ends, encountered by over half (54%) of those who had split.

Many also faced the cost of setting up a new home, with more than half (51%) of those surveyed moving to the rental market after their divorce or separation and one in six (16%) saying they had bought a new home.

Of those currently renting as a result of their split, seven in 10 (70%) feel that they will be unlikely to buy a property in the future.

23% have borrowed from friends and family;26% have used credit cards;31% have dipped into savings

The cost of a relationship breakdown has left some dipping into their savings, borrowing or reducing their pension contributions, the research found.

Nearly one in three (31%) of those who have split say they have dipped into their savings for financial support, while over a quarter (26%) admit using credit cards for this reason.

Close to a quarter (23%) have also borrowed from friends and family to tide themselves over.

One in 16 (6%) have cancelled or cut back their protection cover, with the same proportion cancelling or reducing their pension contributions to give their income a temporary boost after a divorce or a separation.

Paul Brencher, Aviva UK health and protection director said: "The breakdown of a marriage or long-term relationship is likely to be one of the most emotionally demanding life events for people who experience it.

"Such circumstances are made all the harder due to the lack of preparedness by many."

He said that, with the costs involved, "it is little surprise that they are drawn towards their savings for support or borrowing from friends and family".

He added: "Many additionally find themselves priced out of the property market.

"While it may seem completely unnecessary to plan for such an unfortunate life event, it is important that both partners in a relationship take an active interest in their financial affairs, even if one tends to take the lead."

Here is how the cost of a divorce or a separation can mount up according to Aviva (Costs are per person and only a proportion of people spent money in each category):

Legal fees, £2,679
Setting up a new home, £3,321
Annual child maintenance payments, £4,605
Holiday, £1,348
Buying a new car, £4,810
New gadgets (such as a TV, home cinema, sound system), £1,017
Childcare costs, £5,808
Dating, £828
Entertainment and gifts for children, £1,222
Redecorating previously shared home, £2,369
Makeover/new wardrobe, £1,118
Taking up a new hobby, £736
Legal fees as part of child custody battle, £5,671
Therapy/counselling, £1,063
Learning a new skill, £1,702
Personal trainer or get fit regime, £1,261
Jewellery, £1,067

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