Crunch Time for Relationships?
With the credit crunch biting hard into our daily lives Family Law expert Jennifer Goldstein has seen an increase in demand for advice and support concerning relationship issues. Is the long term trend of a falling divorce rate about to be reversed?
The Divorce rate in this country has been gradually falling. Statistics show that only 948 divorces were issued in Newcastle upon Tyne County Court in 2007 compared to 1,295 divorces issued in the same court in 1999. The divorce rate is at it’s lowest since 1981. Is this trend about to be reversed because of the Credit Crunch? Statistics show that so far this year the divorce rate is down again by 4% on last year but that could be about to change.
Relationships are affected by the obvious interpersonal factors and communication issues that we’re all very familiar with but increasingly external influences not least of which being financial decisions and commitments are having a far greater impact on couples and families in the region.
We are told that in the City Hedge Fund Managers are suffering breakdowns in their domestic relationships because they are unable to bring back into the family unit the usual financial resources. This is obviously headline grabbing news; the reality is that most people are of course not quite so calculating. The reality is that redundancy or even just the threat of it can bring enormous pressures on family life especially when so many are carrying significant debt through mortgages, credit cards and loans.
Having experienced and worked through the last recession I do recall that it came upon us in a much more gradual manner but there is no questioning the fact that it did have repercussions upon relationships with people pushed more quickly into seeking advice from a Solicitor.
One of the key questions in such circumstances is “how can we afford to separate?”
For many the question is irrelevant, the pressure is such that they have no choice. There is a way around nearly everything. A more lateral approach has to be taken to outcomes and despite the perception many may have of the legal profession Solicitors often come up with creative solutions to help couples move on with their lives.
By way of example we managed to preserve a business and a family home by making arrangements for a lump sum to be paid leading to clean break by instalments. The lumps, effectively, are going to clear the mortgage on the family home and at the same time enabling the business to continue.
As we are all aware borrowing capacity regardless of circumstances at the moment is a challenge. The solution devised in this case enabled us to circumvent that issue and the parties were able to move forward.
It is difficult for those who have not directly experienced the impact of the previous recession to see that it is possible to find solutions with the right guidance and proper consideration. The Lawyer needs to have an understanding of the business and the families’ financial position and should importantly have good connections. In terms of borrowing, it is not always what you have it is who you know.
If faced with a relationship breakdown the most important thing is to manage it. It is dangerous to try and continue allowing the position to deteriorate only to create longer term problems.
We have various opinions as to when the present “credit crunch” position may end, in general the consensus seems to be, it is with us for some time.
Do not put your life on hold, seek proper advice, you will be surprised at the options that may well be available
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