Family Matters: Sad rise in couples going their separate ways

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Local growth in family law cases supports the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) findings that divorce is on the increase, claims Sheffield solicitors, Taylor&Emmet LLP.

The firm is experiencing a busy start to the year, with significantly more couples seeking advice about divorce and separation than in the same period 12 months ago.

Statistics published recently by the ONS show the number of divorces in England and Wales rose by 0.5% in 2012, compared to the previous year, with two thirds of all marriages ending in separation, almost half within the first decade.

The ONS said there were approximately 13 divorces an hour granted in England and Wales in 2012. Almost half occurred in the first 10 years of marriage.

The organistion’s report said: “Recent trends could be consistent with the theory that recession is associated with an increased risk of divorce, but with a delayed impact.”

Michaela Heathcote, Taylor&Emmet’s head of family law, agreed, saying: “Expert opinion suggests the financial pressure experienced during the recession is having a knock-on effect on divorce rates.

“As the economic situation improves, unhappy couples feel more confident about living independently and are more likely to go their separate ways.

“This is certainly reflected in the number of new inquiries we have received since Christmas.”

Taylor&Emmet says it has one of the largest family law teams in the region.

Its specialist solicitors help to resolve disputes without court intervention where possible, through skilled negotiation and the collaborative law process.

The idea of collaborative law is to resolve issue face to face using specially-trained lawyers. An agreement is drawn up at the end of the process in an attempt to avoid cases going to court.

Independent mediation is also offered via the firm’s sister firm, Hallam Mediation, from offices across South and West Yorkshire.

Michaela added: “Separating without court intervention is proven to be less stressful and confrontational for all involved, particularly children caught in the crossfire. Although dispute resolution is not suitable in every case, we do encourage clients to consider the emotional and financial benefits of collaboration or mediation, particularly as legal aid is still available for eligible couples willing to give the latter a try.”

For further information about the family law services offered by Taylor&Emmet, telephone (0114) 218 4000, visit or follow the firm on Twitter, @tayloremmet.