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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

06 FEB 2014

Report reveals that number of divorces in England and Wales increased in 2012

Journals Manager + Online Editor


The Office for National Statistics has published its statistical bulletin for divorces in England and Wales in 2012.

The bulletin presents annual statistics on divorces following court orders. It does not include divorces of couples usually resident in England and Wales that took place abroad.

The number of divorces in England and Wales in 2012 was 118,140, an increase of 0.5% since 2011, when there were 117,558 divorces.

According to the report, the number of divorces declined between 2003 and 2009 from 153,065 to 113,949 followed by a 4.9% increase in 2010. The number of divorces has remained relatively stable since 2010, fluctuating just below the number recorded in 2010

Speaking of the bulletin, Alison Hawes, a partner in the family law team at Irwing Mitchell, said:

'The small rise in divorces during 2012 could be a sign of renewed confidence following the recession; certainly there were people affected by money worries who may have put off a divorce previously. The trend in rising number of older people divorcing also continued as people are living healthier, longer lives and are wishing to pursue other relationships whereas before couples may have felt compelled to stay together in old age.'

Further key findings include:

  • Divorce rates: In 2012, 10.8 people divorced per thousand married population, a decrease of 19% compared with 13.3 in 2002.
  • Age at divorce: The number of divorces in 2012 was highest among men and women aged 40 to 44.
  • Duration of marriage: The median duration of marriage for divorces granted in 2012 was 11.5 years, which was the same as in 2011. This is an increase from 11.1 years in 2002.
  • Marital status before marriage: In 2012, 19% of men and women divorcing had their previous marriage end in divorce.
  • Children of divorced couples: Almost half (48%) of couples divorcing in 2012 had at least one child aged under 16 living in the family.
  • 60% of marriages are expected to survive to the 20th anniversary.
  • The average marriage is expected to last for 32 years.

The full report is available on the ONS website.

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