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A survey of family lawyers says women were the primary petitioners for divorce in most cases (15 October 2012)

Date: 15/10/2012
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, A survey of family lawyers says women were the primary petitioners for divorce in most cases

According to a matrimonial survey conducted by a leading family law firm women were significantly more likely to file for divorce than their husbands with 59% of family lawyers reporting that majority of applications came from wives.
Though it was down from 2011 statistics when 68% reported wives were first petitioners. Only 1% said that in the past year husbands were the primary petitioners for divorce while 40% said that it was equal between husband and wives.
The survey canvassed the opinions of 139 of the UK's leading family lawyers, and was based on their client work in the 2011 calendar year.
The most common reason cited for divorce was growing apart or falling out of love. It was for the second year running (25%) with infidelity running a close second (24%).
According to the family lawyers polled, the recession was continuing to effect divorce rates, but in 2011 this was the reason for delaying divorce proceedings among 82% of surveyed in contrast it has declined 75% in the current year.
The survey results also revealed that, on average, wives received more than half of the matrimonial assets in 62% of the cases compared to just 6% of husbands. However, whilst wives may be getting a bigger share, there was less to be distributed.
About 35% of the respondents stated that the average value of the total family assets distributed was less than £500,000 compared to just 18% of respondents two years ago.

According to the survey, the Court of Appeal judgment in Tchenguiz v Imerman; Imerman v Imerman [2010] EWCA Civ 908 has continued to cause waves amongst the family lawyer community with 29% of respondents (compared with 22% in 2011) reporting cases where they had had knowledge of concealed assets or income but had been unable to rely on any of the documents.
When asked whether they thought arbitration would become a significant method for resolving family disputes in the next five years, opinion appeared to be split with 48% of respondents saying that it would and 52% saying that it would not.
One of the partners in the firm said that it was not just recession that was pushing down the value of family home and business but financial problems were causing rift between partners which was the main cause for opting separation.
Another message from the current survey she said was the increased burden the family lawyers were facing where they had to say to the clients that all the documents presented to them could not always be used in the divorce proceedings. This has often left lawyers and their clients with a feeling of unfair settlements.

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