Talk Before You Walk Down the Aisle

14th June 2013

Half of all married couples never discuss where to live or whether to have children before they get married, but divorce beckons for those who are aren’t candid when courting, reveals a new study issued today.

The research highlighted that almost one third of couples that had split up blamed rows about their views on having kids and the involvement of in-laws in their relationship. For one sixth, religious differences caused the biggest strain in their marriage. In the UK, two in five marriages* now end in divorce.

The poll, called for by Divorce Solicitors at Co-op Legal Services shows that one quarter of married couples don’t see the need to discuss each other’s views on having children before tying the knot while two thirds don’t see the point in talking about future ambitions and lifestyle choices.

The major reasons for divorce were shown to be love affairs followed by selfishness. However, one in five couples who had parted said that personality and compatibility issues were to blame, and almost one in ten people blamed interfering in-laws.

Those who have been through a divorce appear to have learnt from their mistakes, as 10 per cent more divorcees than married couples, stated it is important to discuss even the little things before getting married, like how to divide the household chores, socialising with friends and drinking habits.

With the average wedding in 2012 costing over £20,000** and taking around 18 months*** to plan, it is clear that UK couples don’t spend anything like this planning for the following 50 years of marriage.

The study also revealed that your parents are the single biggest influence on your marriage – with two fifths saying they are/were a positive influence on their marriage and one fifth citing their parents as being a negative influence. However, one in four people who had split from their partner said parents had a negative impact on their marriage.

One in five divorcees listed work mates as a negative influence on their marriage while TV soaps and the example that celebrities set had a bad influence on married life for one in seven.

Christina Blacklaws, Director of Family Law at The Co-op Legal Services, said:

"When getting engaged, couples spend so much effort planning for the wedding day of their dreams that they lose sight of the next 50 years of married life. Sadly, this is the underlying reason for the majority of divorces, as couples with different ideas and expectations start to drift apart and no longer connect a few years down the track.

"It doesn’t have to be as formal as pre-marital counselling, but couples certainly stand a much better chance of a long and happy marriage if they spend time talking to each other about what they each want out of life and how they want to live their lives together before they get married.”

Additional Information: One Poll surveyed 2,000 married couples, including 800 divorcees, in January 2013.




Co-op Legal Services was established in 2006 and, in 2012, became the first major consumer brand to be granted Alternative Business Structure (ABS) status. This means it is now authorised to offer a range of legal services to the public that were previously only available through private solicitors. The change means that consumers now have greater choice and access to legal advice than they ever had before.

Co-op Legal Services is committed to offering straightforward, value-for-money services and prides itself on its range of legal services offered on a fixed fee basis, meaning customers know exactly what they will be paying from the very start of the process. In September 2012, it launched a new family law arm of its business, offering a comprehensive range of family law services which includes divorce, child protection, mediation and financial issues. In addition, Co-op Legal Services provides the following services to consumers: - Will writing, conveyancing, employment law, probate and personal injury.

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