Another week, another survey! This time I think almost everyone – apart from divorce lawyers like me – was stunned at the findings of a new study of married men and women, which found that 59 per cent of wives would end their marriages immediately if their future economic security was assured.
The survey, carried out by a firm of solicitors, also found that half of husbands considered their marriages to be “loveless”. And among both sexes, more than one in ten wished they had walked down the aisle with someone else.
Shocking though these findings are, they don’t surprise me in the least; I see women every day who wanted to leave their husbands for years – even decades – but didn’t know how.
The bad news is that this survey reflects extremely sadly on the state of marriage in Britain. The good news is that, today, women have their best chance to date of being able to leave their marriage with a financial settlement that will allow them to lead a comfortable, independent life.
There are those who would say that if you’re desperately unhappy in your marriage, you should go – regardless of money – but women are practical, not only for themselves but also for their children. If they think the kids will suffer, they are far more likely to stick with the marriage. But now, women can and are walking out of bad marriages and into happier, financially secure lives.
Winning an equal share – or more – of the marital assets is now a realistic expectation, even among wives who haven’t directly contributed to amassing those assets. There have been several high profile cases of stay-at-home wives who have won hefty pay-outs despite their wealthy husbands arguing that the women did not actually earn it. Judges take into consideration the role played by a supportive, home-making wife who may have put her own career aside to bring up her children.
In short, if you are a wife feeling trapped in a miserable marriage because you believe you wouldn’t be able to survive financially if you left, please think again.