During this COVID-19 crisis we are working remotely, fully operational and look forward to speaking with you.

Caring about your family 24/7

If Family issues are weighing heavily, let us lighten the load...

0151 515 3036 | 07795 060 211

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.

Family Law FAQs

Can I make my spouse leave the family home?

The only way a joint owner of a property can be made to leave, if they are not prepared to leave voluntarily, is that the Court makes an Occupation Order, ordering them to leave or within the financial proceedings a property transfer order is made.

Why do I have to make a will if I am getting divorced?

It is always prudent in matrimonial proceedings to make a will to prevent the Rules of Intestacy applying. If you do not make a will and die intestate before you are divorced your estranged spouse will inherit automatically under your estate.

What is meant by severing the “Joint Tenancy” & why do I need to do this?

When you sever a joint tenancy it means that instead of holding a property as Joint Tenants so that the Right of Survivorship applies, you hold it as Tenants in Common so that the Right of Survivorship does not apply. You need to consider this when getting divorced otherwise you could find that your property passes automatically to your estranged spouse on your death.

What should I do about joint bank accounts?

You should make sure that you either remove any overdraft facility or cap it, as you are jointly and severally liable for it.

What should I do about my pension?

You need to consider changing your nominated pension beneficiary in respect of any death in service benefit that may be payable under the terms of your pension scheme as they may automatically go to your spouse. You need to contact your pension trustees to discuss making provision that it would be paid in the event of your death in service to the beneficiary of your choice.

See our other frequently asked questions pages for:

Should you require any further information regarding this, please do not hesitate to contact us