Out of love and into debt for 25 Britons each day
A total of 9,099 people counselled by us during 2011 cited divorce or separation as the main cause of their debt problem, with women outnumbering men two-to-one.
Divorce and separation ranks as the fourth largest cause of problem debt among our clients, behind unemployment, reduced income and budgeting problems, with two thirds (66 percent) of those affected being women.
Clients attributing their debt problem to relationship breakdown owed an average of £17,629 in unsecured debt, and had just £25 each month available to meet debt repayments after meeting their basic living expenses - a worse financial position than clients in general, who had an average monthly surplus of £40.
We know that separating from your partner is one of those life events that can cause a significant shock to your income. This often comes at the same time as significant additional costs, such as legal bills and the cost of moving home. The combination of these two factors can quickly lead to a serious debt problem.
We think that it is crucial for lenders to act in an understanding and fair way towards borrowers going through this experience, and show as much forbearance as possible as they deal with the financial aftermath of separation.
Separation is stressful enough without having to worry about dealing with unmanageable debt. Borrowers should take immediate steps to assess which, if any, joint debts they are liable for and talk to their lenders to explain their situation.