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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.

Many people would assume that adultery would be by far the most common reason for divorcing a husband, but this was actually only second on the list.

At the very top of the list, which was compiled by researchers at divorced single parents dating website Next Love, was couples having different goals in life. While other, smaller differences can be overcome, it is easy to see how a fundamental mismatch in life-long ambitions and outlook can destroy a relationship.

The CEO of Next Love, Sigurd Vedal, explained that incompatibility between partners on the really important things can sometimes lead to the second reason on the list. 29.2% of the 43,000 women included in the survey named infidelity as the cause of a breakup, while the rest of the list looked like this:

  • Constant bickering, arguing and quarrelling
  • Lack of intimacy
  • Mental illness – where a marriage crumbles under the strain of living with a partner with a mental illness
  • Misconduct - including unacceptable emotional, physical or financial behaviour
  • Boredom - where one partner would describe the relationship as ‘dull’
  • Physical abuse
  • Household problems
  • Money problems.

Women most likely to file for divorce

Other research reveals that women tend to be more likely than men to initiate divorce. For example, statistics released by the National Center for Health Statistics over in the US in 2015 showed that women file for divorce two-thirds of the time. The same study revealed some of the reasons behind these separations, and there are many similarities and crossovers with the findings of the recent Next Love survey. The top 5 reasons were given as:

  • 1.A lack of emotional connection
  • 2.Differences over finances
  • 3.A partner who is not engaged with the family or away from home a lot of the time
  • 4.An inability to resolve conflict
  • 5.Controlling or abusive behaviour.

There are some items on both lists that men and women alike can relate to, including the pressure and stress of financial worries or a couple drifting apart as they don’t see each other enough.

However, it’s interesting to note that there are others that will mainly apply to women, including controlling, abusive or physically violent behaviour. Women may also be said to be more likely to be sensitive to a lack of intimacy or emotional connection, or to attempt to resolve conflict and find their male spouse unwilling to engage to tackle problems head-on.

If you’re considering starting divorce proceedings, it’s important to get the right legal advice. Consulting with a specialist such as the team at Tracey Miller, Liverpool divorce solicitors, can give you the information, guidance and support you need to make the right decisions at this crucial time. Please get in touch to see how we could help.