Six Surprising Facts About Modern Divorce in the UK

When married couples cannot mend their broken relationship, they will usually divorce. Under current divorce laws, a couple can part ways claiming unreasonable behaviour, adultery, or desertion after 2 or 5 years of living apart.

However, with the introduction of no-fault divorce proceedings from April 2022, time will tell if we see a considerable spike in divorce rates in the UK.

Meanwhile, let’s look at six fascinating facts about divorce in the United Kingdom.

1. Unreasonable behaviour leading cause of divorce

While you might be having an amicable divorce from your partner, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics, unreasonable behaviour was the most common reason for opposite-sex couples divorcing in 2019, with 49% of wives and 35% of husbands petitioning on these grounds; it was also the most common reason for same-sex couples divorcing, accounting for 63% of divorces among women and 70% among men.

Unreasonable behaviour may be more commonly used as grounds for divorce because it can allow people to get divorced quicker. This will no longer be necessary with the introduction of no-fault divorce in April 2022.

2. Fewer people are getting divorced

Although the number of divorces increased in 2019, statistics from the ONS show that there has been an overall downward trend in divorce rates since numbers peaked in 2003. Opposite-sex divorce rates remain 30% lower than in 2003.

One theory is that more people cohabitate before getting married to get a better idea of whether the marriage will work for them before making any long term commitments.

Another reason could be that more people are waiting to get married when older. This gives them a more mature outlook on life and the practicalities of marriage. This can enable people to make better choices over life partners.

3. Same-sex divorce numbers are rising

During 2019 there were 822 divorces recorded among same-sex couples. This is almost double the number of 428 divorces seen in 2018. Nearly three-quarters of same-sex divorces were between female couples.

Since the introduction of same-sex marriage in 2014, there has been a significant drop in the number of civil partnerships formed, with same-sex couples choosing to marry instead.

4. Women in their late twenties most likely to divorce

Women aged between 25 and 29 are the most likely to divorce compared to women of different ages. The reasons can be attributed to women wanting a satisfying career and marriage.

Conflicts in the marriage can often happen when the wife feels there isn’t absolute equality within the relationship. The wife initiates 62% of divorces between opposite-sex couples. Many women file for divorce at this age because they don’t want to get pigeon-holed as a wife and mother who is prepared to sacrifice her career to support her husband.

5. Marriages are becoming slightly shorter

In 2019, the average duration of a marriage before the divorce was 12.3 years for opposite-sex couples, a slight decrease from 12.5 years in 2018. Marriages under five years are generally considered short marriages by family courts. If there are no children involved in the divorce, the court will usually feel an equal division of all assets secured during the marriage to be appropriate.

6. Previously married people are less likely to divorce again

Second-time-around marriages are more often successful and less likely to fail, especially when aged over 49 for men and 44 for women.

According to figures from the ONS, people who have been married before are much less likely to get divorced if they marry again, with only 8% of divorces having both partners been married before. You can find a lists of the best divorce lawyers and family solicitors in London, via this link.

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