Focus on marriage break-up costs

Some 45 per cent of all marriages will end in divorce, according to government figures.

Based on current divorce rates, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that just under half of all marriages will break down, almost half of those before their 10th anniversary. In 1979 just 34 per cent of marriages ended in divorce, rising to 37 per cent in 1987 and 41 per cent in 1993.

In the light of such statistics, legal experts and financial advisers are urging married and unmarried couples to ask themselves how they would survive financially following a break-up. Meanwhile, prenuptial agreements, covering such areas as the division of property, assets and pension plans if the couple or civil partners separate, are becoming increasingly popular in the UK.

Assuming that divorce and death rates remain unchanged from 2005, around 10 per cent of married couples will celebrate their 60th or diamond wedding anniversary, with 45 per cent of marriages ending because of divorce and 45 per cent on the death of one partner, according to the latest ONS Population Trends survey. After 20 years together, a couple's chances of breaking up drop to just 15 per cent.

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