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Latest Trends in Divorce Rates

Our People - Loretta Orsi-Barzanti
13 December, 2023

“I do … for now”

In November 2022, the Office for National Statistics released new data surrounding annual divorce rates in England and Wales. This study showed that the number of divorces granted in 2021 had increased by 9.6% from 103,593 in 2020 to 113.505.

This increase could be for a multitude of reasons, not least the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused disruption in the family courts resulting delays in divorce applications being processed. Furthermore, the pandemic likely caused significant emotional and financial strains on many households resulting in an increase in divorce applications during this time.

Divorce rates on long-term marriages

Interestingly, this study also looked at divorce rates by duration of marriage. For couples who married in 1963, by the time they reached their silver wedding anniversary (25 years – 1988) 23% of them had divorced. This increased to 41% of marriages ending in divorce by their silver wedding anniversary (2021) for couples who married in 1996.

Divorce rates on 10-year marriages

There is, however, a slightly different trend when it comes to marriages ending before their 10-year wedding anniversary, which is rather anticlimactically symbolised by tin. For couples who married in 1965, 10% of them had divorced before they reached the 10-year mark, and this increased to 25% for couples who married in 1995.

More recently, however, this has decreased to 18% for couples who married in 2011. This decrease in divorce rates by the 10-year anniversary between 1995 and 2011 may be due to many factors.

Alternatives to marriage can impact divorce trends

It is, however, worth noting that over recent years there has increasingly been less of a social pressure to get married. Couples are now choosing to live together and have children before getting married or not get married at all. This will likely have resulted in the couples who do decide to say “I do” being more committed and prepared for married life than their previous counterparts.  

The question is, will this trend of decreasing divorce rates by duration of marriage start to filter into the annual divorce rates, and are we entering a period of marital bliss? And will the recent implementation of no-fault divorce laws, which allows couples to seek divorce more easily and without the need to attribute blame, play any part?

If you need any help or advice on divorce in the UK or on matter relating to the divorce process, please feel free to contact our specialist Divorce Lawyers or alternatively call us on 020 8492 2290.

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