By Carol Jessop 

As people across the country continue to feel the strain of the cost of living crisis, we’re starting to see that it has the potential to impact more than just our wallets. For those in relationships that are already struggling, the uncertainty and worry caused by the rising cost of living is beginning to take its toll. 

So just how is it affecting the decisions people make when it comes to separation and divorce? Let’s take a look. 

Financial tension

When we think of the reasons behind divorce and separation, our minds often jump straight to infidelity and a breakdown in trust or communication. According to one study however, money worries are top of the list of reasons why many marriages fall apart

Money worries can put a huge strain on a relationship, especially where couples have an imbalance of income. Disagreements and ongoing tensions around spending habits, what the priorities should be, and even financial infidelity can all play their part in a relationship breakdown.  

For many couples, any disposable income may well now be going towards bigger utility bills or fuel for the commute to work, making it harder to socialise together as a couple as well as make plans for the future. 

Delayed separations 

In some situations, couples who would otherwise be ready to separate may decide that now simply isn’t the right time to go their separate ways. On the face of it, it’s easier to combine incomes and pool resources, rather than trying to navigate the cost of living crisis as a single person. 

This might be especially so if there are children involved, with heightened worries about how to support them as a single parent.

One of the concerns here is that couples who continue to live in situations where tensions are rising, may have less chance of resolving their differences amicably if they choose to separate at a later date, a situation that benefits no one. 

Money and coercive control

As a family solicitor, I see many clients who feel trapped in emotionally abusive relationships, and money is often used as a form of coercive control. 

An emotional abuser can make their partner feel as though they simply don’t have the means or ability to leave, and that staying in the relationship is the only option. Sometimes this goes as far as withholding money within a relationship, leaving one party at the financial mercy of the other. 

Separating from or divorcing an abusive spouse or partner is challenging enough as it is, but with financial worries on top, it can seem impossible. 

We understand that this is an especially difficult time for anyone looking to get a divorce or separation. Worries about how much the process will cost are very real, and something we always take into consideration here at Harrogate Family Law. However, seeking legal advice sooner rather than later should always be seen as an investment for the future, not as an unnecessary cost. Ultimately, you may find that the sooner you take control of the situation, the less it will cost in the long run. 

Our team is here to offer support and help you move forward. If you’re looking to divorce and need legal guidance, feel free to contact me at I’m always here to listen and help you find the best outcome for you.