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.
As a result of Marriage/Civil Partnership, the parties to the relationship are entitled to make various financial claims against the other party to the Marriage/Civil Partnership upon Divorce/Dissolution.
Claims arising from Divorce are set out in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Claims arising from Dissolution are set out in the Civil Partnership Act 2004.
The parties to the marriage or civil partnership have claims against each other for income, capital including pension provision and property. Such claims can be dealt with in various ways. For example, the parties may negotiate directly and reach a satisfactory agreement which can then be put into a Consent Order and simply be approved by the Court. However, this may not always be possible and matters may become acrimonious.
Here, at Tracey Miller Family Law, we aim to settle financial matters between the parties as quickly as possible and hopefully without the need for full Court involvement. Sadly, this is not always achievable and sometimes an application to Court must be made.
Should the Court become involved, it has the power to make various Orders in relation to the income, capital, property and pension provisions of the parties to the Marriage/Civil Partnership. Such Orders include property transfer, pension sharing and spousal maintenance. These powers and Orders are set out in the Acts mentioned above. Under the above Acts, there are set criteria which the Court must consider when dealing with the parties financial claims. However the welfare of any children is always paramount.
The financial claims are very important and will affect how the parties live their lives in the future. Therefore should your Marriage/Civil Partnership breakdown, you should seek expert legal advice regarding your rights arising from such breakdown from an experienced family lawyer.
Tracey Miller, herself, specialises particularly in financial settlements within divorce proceedings and has done so now for 25 years. She deals with cases where the assets can range from thousands to millions of pounds and include properties, businesses and pensions.