A SURVEY of leading divorce lawyers revealed that women are increasingly taking the lead in calling time on their marriages.
Family lawyers surveyed in Liverpool reported that 78% of cases were applications submitted by wives, while the remaining 22% said that it was a joint decision by both husband and wife.
Falling out of love and cases of infidelity remained as the most common grounds for divorce for a second year running (22% each).
Couples citing a mid-life crisis to blame ran a close second (19%).
The results were contained in Grant Thornton’s ninth annual matrimonial survey, which canvassed the opinions of the region’s leading divorce lawyers.
As the recession continues to affect divorce rates, the survey’s respondents unanimously identified an increase in couples delaying proceedings due to financial difficulties.
Opinion from the survey also sees a rising trend of couples reaching a “financial clean break” settlement themselves rather than going through the courts.
The survey results also revealed that, on average, wives received more than half of the matrimonial assets in 75% of the cases, compared to just 25% of assets divided equally between both parties.
However, a though wives may be getting a bigger share, there is less to go about. Some 38% of the respondents stated that the average value of the total family assets distributed was less than £1m, compared to just 31% of respondents last year.
The 2010 landmark so-called “cheat’s charter” court ruling of Imerman vs. Tchenguiz continued to cause ripples amongst the family lawyer community as 50% of respondents reported cases where they had knowledge of concealed assets or income, but had been unable to rely on any of the documents.
Sally Longworth, partner in Grant Thornton’s Forensic and Investigations Services, said: “Not only is the recession driving down the value of the family home and business, financial worries are becoming a growing reason as to why couples are divorcing in the first place with 7% reporting financial strain as a significant factor, compared to 5% last year. One of the clearest messages, however, from this year's survey is the increased burden being placed on family lawyers as a result of having to explain to clients that they cannot always use the documents they have obtained.This has often resulted in the lawyers, and their clients, feeling that they have not got a fair settlement.”