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.
Judicial Separation Solicitor
A Decree of Judicial Separation is an alternative to divorce, in the unfortunate situation where a relationship breaks down. It is usually sought by older or religious couples, or couples who have been married for less than one year. Following a Decree of Judicial Separation, the couple remain legally married but all normal marital obligations cease and they do not have to go on living together.
At Tracey Miller Family Law, our judicial separation specialists are on hand to provide legal advice and guidance to assist with the complexities of judicial separation. They’ll work closely with you to decide whether judicial separation is the right solution for you.
Grounds for Judicial Separation
The facts used to support a petition for judicial separation are the same as those used in divorce. These are:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- 2 years' separation with consent
- 5 years' separation
Our judicial separation solicitors will take the time to fully understand your situation before advising you on which grounds is best suited to you. Unlike in the case of divorce, only one decree is issued once the court is satisfied that the requirements for a judicial separation have been met.
Judicial Separation Law
Tracey Miller Family Law's experienced solicitors will help you understand how judicial separation law will affect you and your partner following separation.
In a case of judicial separation, the court has almost the same range of powers as in divorce proceedings, meaning that it is able to deal with issues relating to financial matters between the parties. With regards to children, the Court has exactly the same powers as it does when dealing with divorce proceedings.
A couple who have obtained a judicial separation are still eligible to apply for a divorce should they wish to at a later date. But unlike with divorce, a couple who are judicially separated may still be eligible to receive benefits under the pension scheme of their spouse upon their passing.
If you would like further information regarding any aspect of judicial separation law in the UK, our judicial separation specialists will be happy to provide legal advice and guidance. Contact us today on 0151 515 3036 or request a call back from one of our judicial separation lawyers.