THOUSANDS of couples in Lincolnshire are being forced to continue living together long after their marriage has gone cold because they can’t afford to divorce.
That’s the claim of a website used by people seeking extra-marital affairs, Illicit Encounters, which says the recession, unemployment and the property sales slump has led to this situation.
The website states 38 per cent of its Lincolnshire members felt the stress of relocating in the current climate had affected their decision to stay married, while 42 per cent were put off by the cost of the divorce itself.
Average divorce legal fees are estimated at around £13,000 but can rise to much more in difficult cases, the website claims.
The dating website persuaded one of those people living in Spalding – called ‘Anna’ to protect her identity – to speak to the Lincolnshire Free Press.
Anna (35), who has no children, says she has been married seven years but for the last eight months she and her husband have been living separate lives in the same house.
“My husband has looked into it and he says a divorce is going to cost £10,000,” said Anna. “We know the house is worth about £150,000, but that’s not going to buy two houses. We wanted to get divorced and move at the same time so we could have a clean break, but that is impossible at the moment.”
Anna said they were only able to live amicably because they were sleeping in separate bedrooms and, as far as possible, not spending time together in the house.
She added: “We are civil now, although we weren’t in the early months. I tend to spend a lot of time in my bedroom when he is home. It is already hard enough so we are trying to give each other as much space as possible.”
The pair have been saving for a divorce and hope to afford it early next year.
She said: “It’s such a bizarre situation to be in. You save up for a wedding, you don’t save for a divorce.”
Website spokesman Rosie Freeman-Jones said: “There are a large number of our members who would like to divorce their other half but just can’t raise the funds to do so.
“We’ve seen a dramatic rise in membership in Lincolnshire to our site over the last year as the recession has forced people to stay in marriages they would rather get out of.”