Lets talk or The economy of divorce
Divorce is on the rise according to the Office for National Statistics with 118,140 divorces in 2012, up 0.5% on the previous year. Many things lead to divorce and the statistics provide very interesting reading. In 2012, adultery was given as the reason for one in seven divorces. Age was a factor, with the average age of 45 for divorcing men and 42 for women. Divorces were most likely between the fourth and eighth wedding anniversaries and women were granted 65% of all divorces. With approximately 13 divorces granted per hour in England and Wales in 2012, the economy may also contribute to this rise in divorce figures.
The recession hit in 2008/2009, increasing financial burden and tension to large numbers of couples and families, ultimately causing relationship breakup. With the economy improving though surprisingly the divorce rate may not. With better job security and wages as the recession ends, people may feel that they can afford to support themselves and look to change their relationship status.
This increase in divorce rate adds additional strain to the economy from legal costs. This can however be reduced using the mediation process. Justice Minister Simon Hughes said that with the exception of domestic violence cases, mediation must be considered by all parties looking to separate or divorce before proceeding to court and for good reason.
This effective mediation process provides dispute resolution and avoids lengthy, expensive court battles, benefiting the parties involved but also the taxpayer. The average mediation cost for a family dispute is £500.00 compared to £4000.00 for legal aid issues settled through court and will help the government achieve its plans to cut legal aid by £220m.
Aside from the financial perspective, mediation is beneficial for many reasons. Agreements can be made to suit all parties, with input from all concerned rather than being decided in court. Meetings are held at convenient times by specially trained mediators, resulting in a less stressful and speedier resolution. This is especially helpful when children are involved with access and custody rights.
Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes said “These figures show thousands of people are sadly still divorcing each year. We want them to do it in the least damaging way for everyone involved, especially children.”
So for a low-cost, fast and effective opportunity to settle disputes, without the need of court action, it makes sense for everyone to talk first.