Divorce rate to hit new peak

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The Independent Online

Record numbers of couples are expected to end their relationships this month as lawyers report a boom in divorces. The stresses of Christmas and financial pressures brought on by the recession could lead to two million couples seeking legal advice this year, according to law firms.

Driving the demand are the wives of wealthy husbands who are no longer prepared to watch their claim on a fortune eaten away by the recession.

A survey of 100 City analysts, stockbrokers and hedge fund managers by law firm Mishcon de Reya shows more than a fifth believe divorce proceedings would be launched ahead of a recession as spouses try to secure cash.

One divorce specialist is reporting a threefold increase in inquiries over the run-up to Christmas. SAS Daniels, in the North-west, says an upturn in Christmas advice confirms their fear that January 2009 will be one of the busiest periods ever for marriage splits. "The bubble has burst: couples who thought they could get through their difficulties or an economic blip, and were delaying divorce, have realised the credit crunch is long term and can wait no longer," said Maria Taylor, one of SAS's lead divorce lawyers.

Mishcon family partner Sandra Davis said: "Couples who papered over the cracks with open chequebooks are now seeing those cracks as full fault lines."

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