Western Mail, 3rd July 2008
An increase in the numbers of married couples seeking a divorce has become the latest trend attributed to the current credit crunch.
But the sluggish housing market means some couple have to share the same house after their divorce has gone through the courts because their jointly owned hoes are proving difficult to sell.
Others are stuck in meagre bedsits, until the housing market picks up, amid wrangling over who racked up the debts.
Traditionally, divorces tail off in the run-up to the summer holidays but last week one Cardiff law firm saw divorce cases more than double in a week.
“The house is almost always the largest asset in a divorce settlement,” said Melanie Hamer, partner at Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice, in Cardiff.
“If it cannot be sold, receiving a financial settlement is a huge problem. This is on top of the increasing financial and cost-of-living problems which mane people in Wales are facing, which themselves often lead to an increase in divorce rates.
“We are seeing direct evidence of this because our client numbers last week increased by 145% on the previous week, following a similar trend for the past few weeks at the firm.
“Economic prosperity often helps paper over the cracks in relationships. Conversely, tightening belts mean less scope for diverting attention away from an unhappy marriage.
“Financial worries can place a huge strain on marital relationships and cause breakdowns in communication”