K J Smith Solicitors

Latest ONS figures show continued decline in divorce rates

Published: 12 December 2016

The latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics on 5 December 2016 show that the number of divorces throughout England and Wales in 2014 was 111,169 – which is 3.1% less than in 2013.

There were also 9.3 divorces per thousand men and women from 2013 to 2014, resulting in a 5.1% decrease in divorce rates. The number of divorces in 2014 were highest amongmen aged between 45 and 49, and for women aged between 40 and 44.

Nicola Haines of the Vital Statistics Outputs Branch of the Office for National Statistics said:"Compared with 2004, divorce rates in 2014 were lower for all age groups except women aged 55 and over. Likely factors include increased cohabiting and increasing age at first marriage. Previous research indicates a higher risk of divorce among those marrying at younger ages, whilst cohabitation may be reducing the number of weaker relationships progressing to marriage."

In a response to the data, the National Chair of family law organisation Resolution, Nigel Shepherd, said: "The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that both divorce numbers and the divorce rate have fallen. As the ONS highlight, this could be due to both the rise in the number of cohabiting couples, and the reduction in the number of weaker relationships progressing to marriage as a result."

He continued, "For those 111,169 of couples that did divorce however, we know that nearly two-thirds will have apportioned blame – whether they wanted to or not. At Resolution, we believe in a better way for separating couples that allows them to divorce without blame, conflict or argument. Over 90% of our members support a move to No Fault Divorce, and last week 150 family lawyers gathered in Parliament to meet with MPs and lobby for change. We are pleased with the positive reception our calls for no fault divorce received among MPs and we will continue our call for this much required, widely supported legislative change."

Resolution also said that the number of cohabiting couples has been proven to have risen in other statistics released by the ONS in July 2016. In a previous blog, we reported that cohabitation has now become the fastest growing family type in the UK, further highlighting that it is more important than ever to ensure that couples in this type of relationship are protected with basic rights under the law, as cohabiting couples are in a vulnerable position because they do not have the same rights as married couples.

If your relationship is on the verge of a breakdown and you are thinking about divorce then K J Smith Solicitors are here to help. Our team of family law professionals strive to deliver practical solutions that result in a positive outcome. For more information or to arrange a free 45 minute consultation, please contact K J Smith Solicitors today on 01491 630000 (Henley on Thames), 020 7070 0330(London),0118 418 1000 (Reading), 01753 325000 (Windsor), 01256 584000 (Basingstoke) 01483 370100 (Guildford) or 01494 629000 (Beaconsfield).

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