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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.

International Family Law


As the number of marriages where one or both spouses have a connection to another jurisdiction continues to increase we need to be more aware of the difficulties that may be faced navigating divorce law across jurisdiction.

With the growth of cross-border divorces, Tracey Miller Family Law’s specialist lawyers are becoming increasingly experienced in dealing with divorces and financial settlements which have an international element.


Here at Tracey Miller Family Law, our specialist divorce solicitors are experienced in both international cases and domestic relocation cases. Consequently, Tracey Miller Family Law’s international family law expertise is regularly required in relation to every aspect of international divorce, including the wellbeing of children.

Relocation disputes arise when parents have separated and one of them proposes to take their child or children to live in a new geographical location and the other parent objects to the proposal.

When those proposed moves are within the United Kingdom we will call the dispute “domestic relocation cases”. The proposed moves beyond the borders of the UK are called "international relocation cases.”

Here at Tracey Miller Family Law our expert, friendly and professional team of divorce and family law solicitors understand how difficult a separation can be, whether it involves domestic relocation or international relocation.

Our specialist team of divorce solicitors in the North West has experience in successfully dealing with both domestic and international relocation cases.

As Tracey Miller says:

“This is an area of speciality that has recently been developing, I am very pleased to say that to date all cases have been completely successful whether we have been representing the parent that wishes to relocate or the parent that objects to the same. This is an area of law which is continuing to develop and we have  made ties with a number of international law firms across the globe."

Contact Tracey Miller Family Law

For professional and friendly advice on any aspect of international family law get in touch with our specialist team of divorce lawyers in the North West.

If you have any concerns related to domestic or international relocation or any element of international family law, you can speak to a friendly and sympathetic divorce lawyer by calling 0151 515 3036 or 07795 060 211. Alternatively you can fill out our online form and one of our specialist team of family lawyers will get back to you.