Experts underestimate number of UK divorces

19th June 2017

Experts underestimate number of UK divorces

As the BBC announces a documentary featuring wives locked in multi-million pound divorce cases, and Elle Macpherson reveals she is divorcing her billionaire husband, a survey of professional specialists has revealed that most significantly underestimate the number of couples splitting up in the UK every day.

Just over a third (37%) of the experts polled correctly said that 13 UK couples divorced every hour in 2013 with 11% saying it was eight couples an hour. Over half of those polled (52%) opted for 10 couples per hour.

The poll was carried out by Midlands' law firm Higgs & Sons at the launch of The Higgs Guide to Divorcing Well, a new approach to divorce law that demonstrates not all roads need to lead to costly litigation.

Partner and Head of Family at Higgs, Philip Barnsley, said: "The Higgs Guide to Divorcing Well is a more innovative and collaborative way of resolving issues on separation.

"In November 2015, according to the ONS, 64% of children whose parents divorced were under the age of 11. We think that a better divorce can help to lessen the impact on those children.

"Our guide will show how a client-centred approach can help divorcees maintain control, manage their outcomes and keep a tight control of costs."

The 70 delegates who attended the event were also asked what percentage of UK marriages end before their 20th anniversary, and were again wide of the mark. Just one in three correctly said that 32% of marriages failed within 20 years, while 3 in 5 (62%) pessimistically suggested it was 43%.

More than half (54%) were right when they said that the average UK divorce, from start to finish, takes 17 months and 26 days.

In highlighting the principles behind the Higgs Guide to Divorcing Well, Philip Barnsley was able to demonstrate that just 4% of Higgs & Sons divorce cases end in a court hearing, as opposed to 34% nationally. Philip also demonstrated how the approach taken by the team at Higgs produced outstanding settlements, more controlled legal expenditure and helped to build lasting relationships for separated families.

He added: "The event was really well received, and our survey certainly proved that many professional advisers underestimate the volume and numbers of work and people involved in the divorce industry.

"100,000 people are expected to divorce this year, and The Higgs Guide to Divorcing Well will hopefully show how a client-centred approach can help everyone involved in this often difficult and expensive process reach a successful conclusion as painlessly and cost-effectively as possible."

Phil was joined at the event by Partner Claire Darley who specialises in complex and high value financial work, and Kelly Perks, a trained mediator.

Higgs & Sons is based at offices on the Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill, West Midlands, and boasts more than 100 specialist lawyers.


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