Counting the cost of family breakdown

The Relationships Foundation, a think tank for a better connected society set up in 1993, has recently published findings that in 2016 the annual cost of a family breakdown to the taxpayer is now £48 billion, costing each taxpayer around £1,820 a year. When the Relationships Foundation first researched the cost to the economy of family breakdown in 2009, it stood at £37 billion a year.

The hidden costs to the taxpayer of family breakdown include the bill to pay for things that can result from divorce and separation, including:

  • Tax credits
  • Lone parent benefits
  • Housing benefit and council tax benefit
  • Emergency housing following domestic violence
  • Physical and mental health
  • Social services and care
  • Children in care
  • Police and prisons
  • Courts, legal services and legal aid
  • Child maintenance
  • Educational provision following disciplinary and behavioural issues
  • Free school meals
  • Educational maintenance allowance
  • Tertiary education drop out
  • Young people not in education, employment or training

With Brexit dominating the general election campaign, politicians of all colours are also being urged to comment on how to tackle this large divorce bill which is much closer to home. It remains to be seen what changes if any will be made post 8th June to reduce this cost to the tax payer.

Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.

Ipswich Family Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email