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Are divorces on the decline?

View profile for Steven Payne
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Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the divorce rate for heterosexual couples in England and Wales has hit a 45-year low.

During 2017 for every 1,000 married men and women there were 8.4 divorces, representing the lowest rates since 1973 and a 6 per cent decrease from 2016.

One of the possible explanations for the decrease could be due to the fact that fewer couples are choosing to get married.

On the reverse, divorce rates between same-sex couples has surged, increasing more than threefold in a year, from 112 to 228. Three quarters of those were between female couples.

Among heterosexual couples, the divorce rate was highest among men aged between 45 and 49 years, and women aged 40 to 44 years. The average duration of marriage at the time of divorce was 12 years for opposite-sex couples.

Unreasonable behaviour was the most common reason given by opposite-sex couples divorcing, with 52 per cent of wives and 37 per cent of husbands petitioning on these grounds.

It was also the most common reason for same-sex couples divorcing, accounting for 83 per cent of divorces among women and 73 per cent among men.

The findings come after divorce rates began to rise in the 1960s before hitting an all-time high in 1993.

Gepp Solicitors have a wealth of experience in family law, having just celebrated their 250th year in business. Email family@gepp.co.uk or call 01245 228106 today to speak to one of our experts.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.