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50% of Britons hide possessions during divorce

Divorce | 21 Sep 2015 1

Almost 50 per cent of British people admit they have hidden possessions during a divorce to prevent their partner taking them, a new study claims.

The most popular items hidden were photographs, keepsakes and heirlooms. An additional 11 per cent told researchers that, in retrospect, they wish they had hidden some items.

By contrast, people on average threw away around £394 worth of possessions in anger during a divorce or separation, with 16 per cent of people disposing of items worth over £500. Of those who throw away possessions during a heated breakup, 40 per cent regret doing so once they had calmed down.

The study, conducted on behalf of self-storage company Big Yellow, found that possessions provoke the second highest number of arguments for a typical divorcing couple. Half the respondents admitted to fights about their belongings. There were more arguments about this than there are about children – which were the source of conflict for 45 per cent of couples – and living arrangements. Only money causes more disputes.

Over a quarter of respondents – 26 per cent – said that they had argued about cars during their separation, making them the most common bone of contention. Similarly, photos, heirlooms, keepsakes and the television all caused arguments in at least 20 per cent of British couples.

Marital therapist Andrew G Marshall said that the results revealed “how relatively unimportant material possessions take on a more emotive role during the turmoil of a break-up”.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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    1. Tim Haines says:

      What lousy, erroneous use of statistics! Maybe 50% of British DIVORCEES have ‘hidden possessions during a divorce to prevent their partner taking them’, but I am fairly confident that this does not apply to 50% of British PEOPLE, since I doubt that 50% of Brits have ever been divorced at all!

      We also need to know a bit more about the sample: were all those questioned customers of Big Yellow? If so, how do we know that they are representative of ‘Britons’? Presumably the sample was self-selecting as well, and those who did indeed hide possessions might be more likely to respond, thus skewing the statistics still further.

      Recommended reading: “How To Lie With Statistics” by Darell Huff. A short, easy-to-read and humorous book which will leave you with a good idea of how statistics are abused in order to present the picture that the writer wants to paint. 97.4% of people never believe a statistic again after they have read it.

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