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.
Same sex couples are now entitled to register their relationship formally as a Civil Partnership. Civil Partnership is a relatively new legal relationship, exclusively for same-sex couples. The law is contained in the Civil Partnership Act 2004.
At Tracey Miller Family Law, our expert Civil Partnership divorce lawyers understand how difficult separation can be. Our friendly team of family law solicitors will be on hand to support you through these tough times, working with you to find an appropriate solution in the easiest way possible.
To speak with one of our Civil Partnership specialists why not call us today on 0151 515 3036?
What does the law say?
There is only one ground for dissolution of a Civil Partnership in England and Wales which is that the Civil Partnership has “Irretrievably Broken Down”. In order to prove this ground to the Court, you can only rely on one of the following four facts:
- Unreasonable behaviour: your civil partner has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them.
- Desertion: your civil partner has deserted you for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the presentation of the dissolution petition.
- Two years separation with consent: you and your civil partner have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the presentation of the dissolution petition and your civil partner consents to a decree being granted.
- Separation: you and your civil partner have lived apart for a continuous period of at least 5 years immediately preceding the presentation of the dissolution petition.
On dealing with a petition for dissolution, the Court has various powers regarding the parties’ finances and any children. Of course, these powers will be explained to you by your Civil Partnership divorce lawyer.
Should you require any further information regarding the laws surrounding Civil Partnerships, please do not hesitate to contact us.