But the financial climate is causing added complications for those who do go ahead with the break-up. The housing market downturn has added new complications to decisions over what to do with the family home, while working out the split (if any) of pension assets is far more complex than it used to be.
Such issues are causing problems in a growing number of family law cases, according to solicitors, who report that this month has been as busy as ever when it comes to divorce.
Philippa Cunniff, partner and head of family law at HBJ Gateley, said: “January is always a busy time for family lawyers, due to the backlog of work that builds up over the holidays, but the stress of the festive season can also be the final straw for some people.”
The emotional anguish of divorce is exacerbated for many couples by protracted and often bitter negotiations over the split of matrimonial assets. The most valuable asset is usually the property, although many couples underestimate the potential value of the pension accumulated during the marriage.