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BLOG: Is divorce on the decrease?

Kim Okell – website

In a world of rapid change, a pace of life that is getting faster, it is surprising to hear that since the turn of the 21st century, divorcing couples are on the decrease, but why?

The number of divorcing opposite-sex couples decreased to the lowest level since 1971. Specifically in 2018 there was a decrease by 10.6% to 90,871 divorces compared to 101,69 divorces in 2017 (office for national statistics).

However, are the current views of society a true reflection of such decline?

Marriage is too costly (average £27,000)

Marriage causes too much debt

Societal views have softened on the subject

People like the single life

Fear of commitment

Buying a house together is commitment enough

Too much pressure in planning a wedding

Marriage is “just a piece of paper”


The Office of National Statistics has confirmed the following factors for why divorce is on the decrease: –

  • Buying a home together as a cohabiting couple is said to be the new ‘commitment’ between parties over the last 25 years. The number growing faster than married couples up to 25.8% over the decade.
  • A general decline in marriages, hence a decline in divorce petitions.
  • Those couples that do choose to marry wait until their 30’s rather than the previous popularity of marriages for couples in their 20’s (1970’s), so are said to be ‘more mature’ when marrying.
  • Administration reasons – divorce centres processed a low number of petitions in 2017 and later dealt with backlogs in 2018 which then increased divorced petitions by 8%. This is also said to be the position for 2019.

The view of marriage has clearly changed over time and the views of society do not drastically differ from those reported on the National Office of Statistics.

Whilst it is a positive step to note a decrease in divorce in the 21st century compared to that in the 20th century, couples wishing to divorce is still common. Now that we are in unprecedented territory, the midst of a public health crisis with COVID-19, self-isolation may just increase such rates, peak times usually being the summer holidays and over the Christmas period.

Divorce is a very sensitive, upsetting and confusing time when you need someone to help guide you through. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of getting divorced, then it is vital you have the right support. Talk to close friends and family and further, seek professional legal advice to guide you in the right direction and make a very difficult time a little easier.

We offer an outstanding service for our clients and want to reassure you that we are here to help!

For more information, speak to our family team on 0151 236 8871 or use the contact form below

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