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Divorce Numbers Fall Across Britain

The Office for National Statistics has recently published details of the number of divorces that took place in England and Wales during 2015.

Key Statistics

Key facts revealed by the statistics include:

  • There were 101,055 divorces of opposite sex couples in 2015, a decrease of 9.1% compared with 2014 and a decline of 34% from a recent peak in 2003.
  • There were 22 divorces of same sex couples in 2015; marriages and divorces of same sex couples have only been possible in England and Wales since 29th March 2014.
  • The male divorce rate for opposite sex couples in 2015 decreased to 8.5 men divorcing per 1,000 married males; 8.6% lower than 2014 and 37% lower than a recent peak in the divorce rate in 2004.
  • The female divorce rate for opposite sex couples in 2015 decreased to 8.5 women divorcing per 1,000 married females; 8.6% lower than 2014 and 36% lower than 2004.
  • The divorce rate among opposite sex couples was highest among both men and women aged 40 to 44.

Scottish Divorce Figures

Comparable figures for Scotland were published in the Scottish Government publication Civil Justice Statistics in Scotland 2015-16.

This revealed that there were a total of 8,875 divorces granted in Scotland in 2015-16, which was a fall of 2% compared to the previous year. In 2015-16, 62% of divorces granted used the simplified procedure and 38% used the ordinary procedure.

The number of divorces in Scotland has apparently been slowly decreasing from around 13,300 in 1985 to 8,875 in 2015-16. The main exception to this trend was a sharp rise in divorces in 2006, which has been attributed to the reduction in non-cohabitation periods required to prove irretrievable breakdown of a marriage brought into force by the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006.

There were 96 civil partnership dissolutions granted in 2015-16, up from 81 in 2014-15. The vast majority of dissolutions granted in 2015-16 (94%) used the simplified procedure.

Couples in ‘Distressed Relationships’ Urged to Seek Help

Commenting on the ONS figures, Chris Sherwood, Chief Executive at relationship support charity Relate said:

 “It is telling that divorce rates remain the highest in the 40-44 age group. In Relate’s experience, this can be a challenging time for couples, who may be caring for elderly parents and young children as well as juggling full time work. Lack of quality time together and financial pressures can place a huge strain on relationships at this age, and sometimes the result is divorce or separation.

 “With one in five people in the UK reporting that they are in a ‘distressed relationship’, and with parents of children under 16 even more likely to report this, we would urge anyone who is not getting on with their partner to seek help early, before the problem gets worse. Counselling can help to improve communication, reducing the likelihood of divorce and separation or it can help you to make the decision to go your separate ways if that is what is right for you.”

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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