People say that 50% of marriages end in divorce, and many people believe divorce rates have increased in recent years. But is this true? In fact, divorce rates are at their lowest levels since the 1970s and seem to be continuing to fall.
The infographic below contains a number of interesting divorce statistics for UK couples living in England and Wales.
How many marriages end in divorce?
According to recent divorce statistics, 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce.
The latest statistics show that 108,421 couples divorced in 2019. Of these, 107,599 were opposite-sex couples, and 822 were same-sex couples – double the number of same-sex divorces in 2018 (428 couples). Of these same-sex divorces, 72% were between female couples.
These statistics reflect an increase from 91,299 divorces in 2018. But this is probably because divorce centres are catching up with a backlog rather than a reflection on the number of couples looking to get divorced.
When is a divorce most likely?
Men in opposite-sex marriages are most likely to divorce between the ages of 45-49 (10.4 per 1000 marriages). In 2019, the average age at the time of the divorce was 47.7 years old.
Women in opposite-sex marriages are also most likely to divorce between the ages of 45 and 49 (10.2 per 1000 marriages). But the average age at the time of divorce in 2019 was slightly younger than men at 44.5 years old.
How much does divorce cost?
Family breakdown is estimated to cost the taxpayer £48 billion per year. Factors that affect this figure include:
- The effects on health
- Extra housing support
- Legal aid
- Lost work hours
- Other factors
There are four main costs associated with getting divorced:
- Court fees
- Legal fees
- Any financial settlement you must pay to your spouse
- Any child maintenance you are required to pay
Court fees will vary depending on how the divorce proceeds. The court fee for filing a divorce petition in England and Wales is currently £550. There are usually other court fees associated with getting divorced, for example, if you need the court to make a Financial Order or you want to make a Consent Order to formalise a voluntary agreement about children or finances.
Legal fees will include the cost of retaining a solicitor to advise you on the legal aspects of your divorce, as well as their fees for representing you in negotiations or in court.
A financial settlement may require you to give money or other assets to your former spouse or pay ongoing maintenance. You can agree this settlement privately, with the assistance of your solicitors, or in court.
Any child maintenance you have to pay will depend on your income, the number of children you have, any benefits you receive (including income support, incapacity benefit or a state pension) and how many other children live in your household.
Who applies for divorce?
Either spouse can start the divorce process, but statistics show that in opposite-sex couples, 62% of divorce petitions are filed by the wife. Wives have been the primary instigators for divorce in opposite-sex relationships since 1949, although statistics show that this proportion is falling.
How many people get divorced more than once?
Out of the 107,599 opposite-sex divorces in 2019:
- In 39% of cases, it was the first divorce for both partners
- In 11% of cases, one party had got a divorce before
- In 5% of cases, both parties had got a divorce before
How long do marriages last?
34% of marriages are expected to end in divorce by the couple’s 20th wedding anniversary.
Are more people getting divorced nowadays?
Actually, divorce rates appear to be falling and have been since 2000. This could be because couples are more likely to live together before they get married or as an alternative to marriage, particularly when they are younger.
Another possible reason is that many people are getting married when they are older, meaning they are more mature and have more relationship experience. This may mean couples are more likely to make better choices about whom to marry and can handle conflict within the marriage better.
How civil partnerships end in dissolution?
In 2019, there were 916 civil partnership dissolutions, a small decrease of 1.2% from 2018.
Speak to our expert divorce solicitors
The Good Divorce Company at Crisp & Co have many years of experience helping people to manage the end of their marriages and civil partnerships. We know how confusing, stressful and emotionally-taxing divorce can be, as well as the concerns about children and finances that come with ending a relationship.
Our divorce solicitors can advise you on all aspects of getting divorced, helping you to separate from your former partner as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, while minimising the potential for conflict.
Our family law team contains a number of experts in mediation and collaborative law who can help you follow a non-confrontational approach to your divorce wherever possible. We aim to minimise the emotional fallout and the risks of lasting acrimony between you and your former spouse. This can be especially important where you have children who you will need to continue co-parenting together.
We’re leading experts in no-fault divorce, the new divorce law that allows couples to end their relationship without having to place any blame. This makes divorce much more cooperative and removes the risk of conflict.
Where court action is the best or only option to pursue your divorce, we have the expertise to put together the strongest possible case for you, ensuring you get a fair settlement.
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