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Newly released stats on divorcees found 65% considered leaving their partner at the altar and examines the reasons they went through with it

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Deborah Cicurel
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Over half of UK divorcees had doubts on their wedding day and 65% even considered abandoning their partner at the altar, a study has revealed.

The survey of 1,604 divorced UK adults by lawyers Slater and Gordon showed that the top reasons for going through with the marriage included feeling embarrassed about the cost of the wedding, experiencing pressure from family and thinking doubts were just nerves or jitters.

Other reasons the divorcees went through with their wedding ceremonies included “just hoping it would work out”, feeling too guilty to abandon their partner on the day, or thinking their spouse would change their behaviour once married.

49% of people admitted they were unsure before the wedding that their marriage would last, with 15% of those surveyed saying they were so wracked with doubt that they felt physically sick in the weeks before their wedding.

Divorce lawyer Amanda McAlister, of Slater and Gordon, said: “It is incredibly common for people to go into marriages with doubts. There can also be a lot of optimism at the wedding, but this can fade with time.

"We also have some clients who say they had an early instinct their marriage might not be successful and now regret not listening to that doubt,” she added. “I would advise anyone considering marriage to think carefully. It is important to be clear about what your expectations are of marriage and your partner in advance of exchanging vows.”

divorce

But despite the fact that so few divorcees felt positive about their future marriage, and that 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce, only 13% had thought about divorce options, with many confused about the law. 48% said they believed a quick divorce would be easy to arrange, while 17% thought a divorce would not be necessary within six months of the wedding, and 45% were unaware that their spouse would have a claim on their assets even after a short-lived marriage.

However, nearly half of divorcees said they did not regret getting married, despite the outcome. 

“Getting divorced is not a simple process, even if the marriage has not lasted very long,” McAlister said. “People should understand there is time, effort and cost involved when it comes to launching divorce proceedings or drawing up a separation agreement.’

Below are the top ten reasons the doubting divorcees walked down the aisle anyway:

1. Just hoped it would work out

2. Felt it was too late to pull out

3. Thought doubts were just nerves or “jitters”

4. Felt too guilty to stop the wedding

5. Felt pressure from family

6. Thought my spouse would change once we were married

7. Too embarrassed to end the engagement

8. Didn’t want to split up

9. Spent too much money on the wedding

10. We have children and I felt we should get married

Photos: Rex Features

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Deborah Cicurel

Deborah Cicurel is a freelance journalist who writes about everything from lifestyle and travel to fashion and entertainment. She loves spicy maki rolls, cosy socks and visiting far-flung destinations, and is unable to walk past a dog on the street without stopping to befriend it.

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