01 May 2019

Divorced Brits regret splitting after new financial pressures hit home

5 min read

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Becky O'Connor

Personal Finance Specialist


  • A quarter of people who divorced or separated and struggled financially wished they had stayed with their ex-partner
  • Almost a third of newly single parents felt like they were getting themselves into more and more debt
  • Nearly half said they had to increase their working hours after getting divorced or separated

Thousands of people who go through a divorce or separation each year regret the split because of new financial pressures they’ve faced being single, according to new research by Research Without Barriers for Royal London, the mutual insurer.

The survey of divorced or separated people from across the UK found that a quarter (25 per cent) who had struggled financially wished they had stayed with their ex-partner.

Around 100,000 people divorce every year in England and Wales. According to the survey, 36 per cent said they found managing their finances “harder or more stressful” on their own.

Being single put pressure on newly divorced or separated Brits in a number of different ways, including getting into more debt, not having enough time to shop around for the best deals, not having all information needed to make informed decisions or the realisation that they hadn’t tackled personal finances before.

The research also revealed that people who were newly divorced or separated found it difficult to adjust to the new financial realities of being single.

Nearly half (48 per cent) said they had to increase their working hours, and almost a third of single parents (30 per cent) said they felt like they were getting into more and more debt.                                                     

Becky O’Connor, personal finance specialist at Royal London, said:

“It’s a sign of how serious the financial struggle can be post-split that some people feel like they wish they had not gone their separate ways.

“The impact on your personal finances from splitting up and going down to one income is a big challenge. A drop in income often comes after you’ve gone into debt to pay for the divorce or separation – so it’s a double whammy of debt repayments and less money coming in to pay the bills.

“The research underscores the importance of a fair financial settlement when a couple divorces.

“It can be a long road to getting finances on track again, but it is possible. Household bills don’t exactly halve when one person leaves, but some outgoings, such as food, can be cheaper and once you’ve got the hang of budgeting on your own, you might find household finances become easier to manage.

“If you are finding it tough to cope financially on your own, try speaking to a trusted friend instead. If you are struggling with debt, contact a debt advice charity, such as StepChange. Living on your own or as a single parent doesn’t have to mean keeping money worries to yourself.”

Notes to editors:

The research for Royal London was carried out by Research Without Barriers (RWB) between 12/04/2019 and 15/04/2019 amongst a sample of sample of 1,012 UK adults who have been married and separated, divorced and/or widowed. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Code of Conduct (2014).

There were 101,669 divorces in the UK in 2017, according to the ONS 

For further information please contact:

Lucy Field, Press Officer

About Royal London:

Royal London is the largest mutual life insurance, pensions and investment company in the UK, with assets under management of £139 billion, 8.6 million policies in force and 4,348 employees. Figures quoted are as at 30 June 2020.