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Divorce statistics for England and Wales

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published annual statistics on divorces that took place in England and Wales in 2012, following court orders. The statistics do not include divorces to couples usually resident in England and Wales which took place abroad.

The ONS highlights that a marriage may be either dissolved, following a petition for divorce and the granting of a decree absolute, or annulled, following a petition for nullity and the awarding of a decree of nullity. In this release, the term divorce includes both decrees absolute and decrees of nullity.

Key findings of the statistics include:

  • 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.
  • In 2012, 10.8 people divorced per thousand married population, a decrease of 19% compared with 13.3 in 2002.
  • The number of divorces in 2012 was highest among men and women aged 40 to 44.
  • For those married in 1972, 22% of marriages had ended in divorce by their 15th wedding anniversary whereas for those married in 1997, almost a third of marriages had ended by this time.

Source: Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.2.0.

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