The new year divorces will not find everyone completely unprepared. A surprising number of women keep a contingency divorce fund, according to recent survey by insurer Eagle Star. This found that one in seven married and co-habiting women - compared with fewer than one in ten men - has a pot of "running- away" money kept secret from their partner.
The fact that more women than men admit to this may simply reflect the relative financial strengths of the two genders. The vast majority of divorces still involve a wife who is financially dependent on her husband, usually because she is caring for the children. Although divorce almost invariably leaves both parties worse off financially, women who are not working are particularly vulnerable to potential hardship.