Use of private sleuths rising in UK divorces: report

LONDON Mon Apr 23, 2007 3:07pm EDT

A woman walks among bridal dresses during the opening of a three-day wedding fair in Bucharest, in this March 23, 2007 file photo. Almost half of Britain's divorcing couples used a private investigator last year to confirm, or deny, their suspicions about their spouse cheating on them, accountancy firm Grant Thornton said on Monday. REUTERS/Mihai Barbu

A woman walks among bridal dresses during the opening of a three-day wedding fair in Bucharest, in this March 23, 2007 file photo. Almost half of Britain's divorcing couples used a private investigator last year to confirm, or deny, their suspicions about their spouse cheating on them, accountancy firm Grant Thornton said on Monday.

Credit: Reuters/Mihai Barbu

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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Almost half of Britain's divorcing couples used a private investigator last year to confirm, or deny, their suspicions about their spouse cheating on them, accountancy firm Grant Thornton said on Monday.

About 49 percent of divorcing couples hired an investigator in 2006, substantially above the 18 percent in 2005, according to a survey by Grant Thornton's Forensic and Investigation Services unit of 100 of the U.K.'s leading family lawyers.

Of those who used a private investigator, 30 percent were women, while 19 percent were men, the survey shows.

"For the fourth year running our survey has shown that extra marital affairs is the primary reason cited for the break down of marriages in the U.K.," said Andrea McLaren, head of Grant Thornton's London Matrimonial Practice.

"As this figure continues to rise, it is little wonder that the number of individuals using private investigators continues to rise."

Men accounted for 69 percent of adultery cases, while women represented 31 percent, the survey showed.

In 17 percent of instances, behavior was cited as the main reason behind the marriage breaking down, followed by family strains in eight percent of cases, and decisions of a personal nature -- such as only one partner wanting to have a child -- in four percent of instances.

The number of divorces attributed to emotional and physical abuse fell to four percent, from 12 percent in 2005, the study said.

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