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What is the Environmental Impact of Divorce?

Divorce can have a huge impact on the lives of a separating couple, but it can also have much more far-reaching consequences. In this article, we’re going to be examining the impact of divorce on our environment…

Photo by Min An from Pexels

There are many things to consider when thinking about a divorce, including how children, property and our social lives will be impacted. However, one thing that many couples do not consider, is the impact of divorce on our environment.


In this article, we’ll take a look at what the consequences may be for the environment as well as, how to get a divorce that’s more environmentally friendly. 

How are Divorces Bad for the Environment?


In the last decade, we’ve started to become increasingly conscious of ways we can reduce our carbon footprint and do our bit for the planet. Some of the ways divorce can affect the environment include: 

One Household Becoming Two


When a couple initiates their divorce, usually one of the next steps includes living in separate properties. More households with fewer people can mean more water and energy are being used up – something which is of course, harmful to the planet.  



Although a couple will usually ‘divvy up’ furniture and other items following a divorce, it’s inevitable that one or both parties will have to buy new items. Mass-produced furniture and other products can contribute significantly to environmental issues and to climate change.

Vehicle Emissions

Photo by Takahiro Taguchi from Unsplash

While a married couple may have their own cars, they will generally share some car journeys. For example, trips to the supermarket, visits to family and trips and tours within the UK. It would, needless to say, be very unusual for a divorced couple to continue with these shared journeys. Twice as much emissions are therefore being created continually.



Divorce usually involves a large amount of documentation and paperwork – particularly if the separation is acrimonious. As we know, the production of paper is not good news for our planet. 


While some documents relating to divorce will need to be printed and physically signed, many other types of paperwork and communications can easily – and legally – be conducted through email and other digital means. 

How to Have a Greener Divorce


Photo by Eline Somers from Unsplash

When going through a divorce, it’s unlikely that the environment will be your first consideration. However, there are a few things that you can do to make the process a little more environmentally friendly and, these are as follows:


  • Documents – Where possible, request that documents are sent digitally and ask if these can be e-signed rather than hard copies being produced. Although this won’t always be possible, things like communication can be conducted by email.


  • Travel – Try to cut down on travelling to and from solicitors’ offices and the courts by requesting appearances and meetings by video to cut down on the use of vehicles.


  • Furniture – Instead of heading to your nearest brand of Ikea, you may want to consider second-hand or recycled furniture. Not only is this good for the planet but you’ll end up with some unique pieces – and save some cash too. 


  • Children – When there are children involved in a divorce, many couples have a tendency to double up on toys, devices and other items. While this may be convenient, it’s also unnecessary. Instead, try to share these items to cut down on production and waste. It’s also a good idea to think about how children will be transported from one home to another and to, perhaps, consider walking where possible in order to save on fuel.


  • Be mindful – When starting again after a divorce, be mindful of the environment. Now is a really good time to develop an eco-friendlier lifestyle. Think about making small changes such as carpooling and buying water-saving devices to make some small but significant changes to your daily life. This is also an opportunity to change your shopping habits by buying greener products and making the decision to buy from companies which actively support the environment.

Divorce and the Environment


When going through a divorce, it will often feel that it’s all that you can do to get through the day and, as such, the last thing on your mind will be the environment. However, not only is being mindful of the environment essential for our planet’s survival, but it’s also an opportunity to get into new habits which are more environmentally friendly. These new habits can also save you a fair amount of cash in the long run.


Although divorce will usually be an occasion of sadness, it can be turned into a positive in a small way by changing your way of thinking and, therefore, your way of living, for a more positive future. 




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