For partners who voted different ways in the referendum, the difficulty of reconciling opposing political views may be the final straw, said Nigel Shepherd, the chair of Resolution, which represents solicitors and those involved in family law across England and Wales.
His comments come as a Dutch entrepreneur announced plans to set up a divorce hotel in the UK to help separating couples sort out their problems over the course of a weekend.
Law firms regularly send out press releases warning that Christmas or long summer holidays will trigger a fresh wave of relationship breakdowns, but few such cautions were circulated before the EU referendum in June.
For some people, the Brexit vote was a traumatic rupture from the idea of a European union.
Shepherd said divergent political perspectives could reinforce personal misunderstandings.
“We have come across a number of families in this country [who are splitting up] because one them voted differently [to the other] in the referendum,” Shepherd said. “They fell out in a big way because one voted for remain and one for leave.
“I suspect that was unlikely to have been the sole reason [for divorce] but we have heard of cases from a number of our members. It was a really divisive campaign. It pushed some couples [over the edge]. It was the last straw that made them think ‘we are really incompatible’.”
A similar phenomenon has been observed in the US among warring couples split between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
The legal ramifications of Brexit is also proving a challenge for lawyers. “We prepare quite a lot of pre-nuptial agreements under the European system but we can’t say now where we would like issues determined,” Shepherd said. “We don’t know what marriage regulations will exist.”
The idea of a divorce hotel, soothing the process of the final breakup, comes from Jim Halfens, who was a commercial manager in a Dutch law firm.
There are already divorce hotels in the Netherlands and the US. Halfens plans to open one in northern England early next year. The idea is for partners to negotiate the final terms of their separation and mark the formal ending of a relationship.
Halfens said he came up with the idea after a friend went through a “dreadful and drawn-out” divorce. Only couples who are on speaking terms are likely to be allowed to attend and fees are likely to be around £5,000.
“You start together and you end together,” Halfens explained. “You don’t need your mother-in-law or new girlfriend to be there. You sit there for two days and you get to solve this issue.
“It’s a pressure cooker where you need to find a solution. It hardly ever happens that [a couple] are not able to solve a divorce. Like this, you know when it starts and ends. You can say it’s a pity that the marriage failed but the divorce should be a positive note in your new life.”
The soon-to-be exes are allocated separate rooms in the hotel. “Sometimes I thought couples might get back together, but everyone who goes to the divorce hotel goes through to a divorce,” Halfens said. “It has happened that they sleep in the same room, but they have still gone through with the breakup.”
David Leckie, a family mediator who will be the UK hotel’s manager, said: “It is helpful for people to acknowledge the ending of a relationship in a formal way. Otherwise it’s like people dying without having a funeral. It’s symbolic. It leads to a more positive ongoing relationship with their children.”
Asked about the effect of Brexit on relationships, he agreed that it was having a negative impact. “It has imposed an added strain on relationships, one in which people might not be talking to each other as well. Brexit has been an issue,” he said.