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”.