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The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has released its latest figures on divorce in England and Wales. The data shows that there was a surge in new divorce applications in 2019 of over 18% compared to the previous year. This is believed to be the sharpest rise in divorce cases in nearly 50 years.

There were 107,599 divorces between opposite-sex couples, the highest number in five years. This equates to 8.9 divorces for every 1,000 married people, a rate that was just 7.5 in 2018. There were also 822 divorces recorded between same-sex couples. This represented a huge rise of nearly 50% compared to 2018.

The 2019 increase is certainly surprising, as divorce numbers have generally been on a downward trend for a number of years. According to the ONS report, this is partly because fewer people are getting married in the first place. It states:

"Changes in attitudes to cohabitation as an alternative to marriage or prior to marriage, particularly at younger ages, are likely to have been a factor affecting the general decrease in divorce rates since 2003."

What caused the 2019 rise in divorces?

These startling new figures beg the question – what happened in 2019 to cause so many marriages to fall apart?

According to the ONS, the explanation could actually be very simple. It could all be down to an administrative issue.

The ONS has said that at least part of the increase could be attributed to a casework backlog in 2018. This would make divorce cases lower in 2018 and higher in 2019, with many divorces from 2018 only being recorded in the following year’s figures.

The report stated:

"The size of the increase can be partly attributed to a backlog of divorce petitions from 2017 that were processed by the Ministry of Justice in early 2018, some of which will have translated into decree absolutes (completed divorces) in 2019.”

Another divorce spike on the horizon

Due to the intense pressures of 2020 during the start of the coronavirus pandemic, another sharp increase in divorce cases is almost certainly on the way. Numerous lockdowns, restrictions and hardship are bound to have exacerbated existing marriage problems.

The charity Citizen’s Advice saw a significant increase in searches for divorce guidance on its website as early as April 2020. And in September, this rise in searches was 25% higher than the same time in 2019.

But if you’re facing marriage problems, you don’t have to go through it alone.

Get in touch with Wirral divorce solicitor Tracey Miller Family Law and we can help you arrange mediation and counselling, as well as reliable, practical divorce advice if you need it. Call us on 0151 515 3036 or contact us online – we’re here to help.

Resolution also shines a spotlight on ways of doing divorce differently. The organisation has been a key driving force behind the no-fault divorce bill, which will enact some of the biggest changes to UK divorce law in centuries.  

In honour of Good Divorce Week, we’ve put together a handy guide to the Resolution Code of Practice. This is the Code that all family lawyers and divorce solicitors agree to uphold when they sign up as Resolution members.

This includes us here at Tracey Miller Family Law, as we’re committed to helping our clients find the right solutions for their families – with as little stress and animosity as possible.
Here are the key points you need to know:

Minimising conflict and confrontation

Your family law team will achieve this through the use of effective communication techniques. They’ll encourage all parties to avoid the use of inflammatory language, and prioritise speaking in person over the written word (which can often be misinterpreted).  Resolution advocates for mediation and collaboration in reaching solutions together.

Supporting families and putting children first

The decisions made in a divorce should always put the best interests of any children first. This is what Resolution members prioritise when advising clients and negotiating agreements between parties. And as well as providing legal advice, they are also there to provide (or signpost to) support and to help you manage the stress of the process.

Crucially, your divorce solicitor should help you understand the long-term consequences of your decisions. This means financially, practically and emotionally too. They should help you focus on what really matters in the long term.

Treating everyone with respect

Divorce lawyers who uphold the Resolution Code of Conduct pledge to act with honesty and integrity, which means treating all parties with respect. It also means actively listening, without judgement.
Letting you know all of your options

Your divorce solicitor is an excellent source of information and advice. They’re there to lay out all of your options – and the pros and cons of each – in clear, easy to understand language.
Resolution members use their expertise and knowledge to guide clients to the right option for their family, remembering that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.  With their help, you’ll have the peace of mind that you’re making the right choices.

Facing divorce? Why you should choose a Resolution member

When choosing a divorce lawyer to guide you through the process, it’s always recommended to choose a Resolution member. Here at Wirral divorce solicitor Tracey Miller Family Law, we align our approach and values closely with Resolution and the Code of Practice.

What does this mean for you? It means practical, constructive solutions that are focused on the best outcomes for all the family, rather than point scoring or dragging out the process. To find out more about how we work, get in touch for a chat.