September 17, 2014

Recession causes more relationship breakdowns

The latest study by relationship support experts Relate has revealed that couples worst affected by the recession are eight times more likely to suffer relationship breakdown.

The research Relationships, Recession and Recovery shows that people who suffered financial hardship during the recession were more likely to experience relationship problems – and are continuing to endure them despite the economy recovering.

The charity analysed data from Understanding Society which focused on how people were affected by the recession between 2009 and 2012. They were grouped according to their experiences – job loss, optimism for the future, perception of current and future financial situation, working overtime, satisfaction with employment and being behind with their bills. The couples’ experiences were then analysed to see how relationships fared in each group.

Whilst welcoming this latest report, as family lawyers, we would have to say these findings reveal nothing new. Of course financial insecurity is bound to impact on a relationship, particularly if there is a lack of income or a couple are in debt.

What we did notice during the recession was that couples who were experiencing money issues tended to stay together. This is probably because they were aware that with limited funds to go around, coupled with restrictions on lending following the ‘credit crunch’, it was almost too expensive to split up with the average divorce and costs of setting up a new home, buying another car and paying for childcare believed to be as high as £44,000.

Perhaps the key part of the research is that despite the economy improving, Relate stresses that couples are still feeling the effects of the recession, therefore the protection of relationships should be a priority by the government to ensure ‘social recovery.’

Is it fair to say that a recession is responsible for the breakdown of a relationship or do you think it can only be a contributory factor?

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