Cheaper To Keep Her: Unhappy Women Staying Married Because Of Financial Toll Of Divorce

January 8, 2019  |  

Stop blaming everything on me!

Source: Rowan Jordan / Getty

I remember the first time I heard the phrase, “cheaper to keep her.”

It was a playful exchange between my mom and Auntie about why someone in their inner circle wasn’t going to get divorced despite their spouse being unhappy.

Even though it’s a phrase spoken casually in many households, the sentiment echoes a shocking reality: the cost of divorce is too damn high.

January 7th, or what some lawyers call it, “divorce day,” just passed. This day is marked by the first working Monday of a new year when, statistically, more people file for divorce.

For people across the pond in the UK, heading to divorce court may be too big of a price to pay. According to research by Refinery29, some women in the UK are staying in unhappy marriages simply due to the financial toll of getting a divorce.

The stats they compiled reveal that couples spend an average of £14,500, a rise of 17% since 2018, according to Aviva. 

Some researchers believe the pricey cost of divorce is leading to a decline in divorce rate. The divorce rate dropped 6% in 2017 in England and Wales in 2017, the lowest rate since 1973,  according to the Office for National Statistics.

Divorces can be emotionally intense, leading little room for couples to manage negotiations for themselves. That’s when people insert pricey lawyers.

“The emotions surrounding the relationship breakdown can sometimes make the parties more litigious, which may make it more difficult for the couple to negotiate without lawyers or outside of court,” Melanie Bataillard-Samuel, senior associate at Gregg Latchams solicitors in London told Refinery29.

Some couples may opt for separation over divorce in exchange.

“Most people will physically separate even if they cannot afford the legal fees, to formalise the separation and end their legal connections to each other.” Deborah Jeff, partner and head of family at Seddons and legal spokesperson for Divorce Aid told Refinery.

“You are likely to need legal advice at some point in the divorce process, and getting your personal papers and financial disclosure in order early will set you up well for what lies ahead.”

So far, the only solution is to manage legalities yourself, which can shift a financial toll to an emotional one.

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