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Last Updated: Monday, 16 October 2006, 09:11 GMT 10:11 UK
Divorce 'can boost debt levels'
A couple back-to-back
Divorce can send finances spiralling downwards
Getting divorced can increase the chances of an individual falling deeper into debt, according to research from lender Alliance & Leicester.

Alliance & Leicester said that the extra costs relating to the process of getting divorced can erode finances.

A divorcee owes an average of about 5,000, excluding mortgages, equivalent to 28% of their annual salary.

Married couples owe a little more on average, about 5,250, but this equates to 15.9% of their combined salary.

'Relationship breakdown'

"Splitting up clearly gives rise to a lot of costs, including setting up a new home," Chris Rhodes, managing director of Alliance & Leicester Retail Banking, said.

"This is reflected in the fact that the recently separated have the highest overall level of debt.

"However, over the years, divorced people's finances do not seem to improve - showing how long-lived the effects of relationship breakdown can be," he added.

The research found that divorcees have lower than average levels of savings and are more likely to live in social housing rather than own property.

The Alliance & Leicester said that single people tend to owe the most, about 5,300 on average, but they are usually younger than divorcees so have more time to pay off their debts.

In addition, the bulk of single people's debt usually results from low-cost student loans, as opposed to more expensive credit card and loan debt.

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