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Could Brexit be increasing the divorce rate?

In a way, it seems like only yesterday that we were surrounded by the passionate, and often heated, debates in the few days leading up to (and following) the EU referendum (Brexit Vote). 

Nine months on, not much has changed. Papers are full of politicians debating the merits of hard Brexits, soft Brexits, different coloured Brexits and whether or not we will be worse off, as individuals and a nation, after we leave the European Union. But this isn’t just a debate that is happening between politicians and academics, far away from our everyday lives. 

Brexit is personal. It’s an emotive subject and something that is still hotly debated at many a dinner party around Britain and further afield. All of us know of someone who has fallen out with their mother, their brother, their father…the list goes on, over a disagreement regarding Brexit. The passion that surrounds our place within Europe, indeed our place within the world, means that over the past few months, maybe even more so than during the run-up to the referendum, people have firmly categorised themselves as Leave or Remain. And there is rarely any middle ground. 

It’s unsurprising, then, that when, within a marriage, one person is part of the Leave camp and the other Remain, arguments will ensue.

Brexit isn’t just a difference of opinion; it’s a disagreement about our fundamental beliefs, the things that are at the very core of us and make us who we are. These beliefs stem from the part of us that helps us form our opinions and, in essence, informs how we live our lives and the choices that we make. 

So, it comes as no shock, that for many couples who cannot agree on Brexit, there is only one option: Divorce. 

When someone comes to us to seek advice and to start the divorce process, we ask them why they would like to file for divorce, so that we can begin to prepare the necessary paperwork and start the process. We hear a wide variety of reasons on a daily basis, from infidelity to abuse, right through to simply growing apart. 

Over the past nine months, however, when asked for a reason for divorce, an increasing number of people are citing ‘Brexit’ as the cause for their relationship breakdown. 

Some would argue that, although it’s the reason being given for the divorce, Brexit is unlikely to be the actual issue, but rather the ‘final straw’ in an already struggling relationship. Whether this is the case, or not, is difficult to judge, as the only people who truly know what is going on in a relationship, is the people who are in it. 

Is Brexit simply the last in a long line of problems for these couples? Or is it much more than that?

Here at Austin Kemp, we suspect that in some cases, it may well be simply one disagreement too much.

But for couples to stick together, certain fundamental values must be shared, or the relationship, on many occasions, will simply not work. For some people, their ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’ stance, could represent, and indeed ‘bring to the surface’, a fundamental difference in their values and outlook on life and ultimately, end in the breakdown of their relationship. 

Only time will tell whether the statistics show us an increase in divorce in the 12 months post-Brexit. We await these with interest. 

For more information on this subject please visit our Legal Library.


Contact us to see how we can help you with your divorce

For more information on your options call our team on 0845 862 5001 or email

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Please contact us for more details.

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22nd March 2017

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