When one half of a Croydon couple cosies up to someone on a cold winter evening, it may well not be their husband or wife.
More partners from the borough name a cheating spouse as grounds for their divorce than anywhere else in London. According to the Ministry of Justice, 14 per cent of the 2,664 spouses citing adultery as grounds for divorce, lived in Croydon.
With 13 per cent out of the total, Croydon’s next-door neighbour, Bromley, came second.
The statistics, covering the period from July 2011 to June 2013, showed that 31,700 couples in England and Wales cited adultery as a significant contributor to their breakup.
The figures reveal that of all of London’s divorce petitions citing adultery, 57 per cent came from women naming and shaming their adulterous husbands, while 43 per cent were from men complaining of philandering wives.
There are five legal grounds for divorce in England and Wales: unreasonable behaviour, adultery, desertion, separation for two years by mutual consent, separation for five years without mutual consent.
Brookman Solicitors, an international firm of family lawyers, said: “The word ‘adultery’ carries moral overtones and so we are as tactful as possible when suggesting that it is should be used as the ground for divorce.”
Toby Hales, a family lawyer at Hodge, Jones and Allen, told the London Evening Standard: “Unfortunately, current divorce law forces couples to blame each other unless they can wait two years to get a divorce.”
He added: “This means they must record details of their partner’s infidelity or unreasonable behaviour, making an already stressful process even harder for couples and their children.”
Couples in the north London borough of Barnet achieved the title for the most devoted spouses, as they accounted for only three per cent of divorces during the same period.