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.
Terms & Conditions
The content of this Website is provided for your information and to facilitate your commercial relationships with us. References to "Website" and "Content" are to this Website and the contents of this Website. You acquire no rights or licences in or to the Website and/or the Content other than the limited right to use the Website in accordance with these terms and to download on the terms set out in this section. Other than as set out in this section you may not copy, reproduce, recompile, decompile, disassemble, reverse engineer, distribute, publish, sell, display, perform, modify, upload to create derivative works from, transmit or in any other way exploit any part of the Website or the Contents.
Downloading is permitted by us provided only that it is to a single personal computer and:
(a) you make no more than one printed copy of such download and no further copies of such printed copy are made;
(b) you make only personal, non-commercial, use of such download and/or printed copy; and
(c) you retain on such download and/or printed copy all copyright notices and remain bound by the terms of such wording and notices.
Additionally you may not offer for sale or sell or distribute over any other medium (including distribution by over-the-air television or radio broadcast or distribution on a computer network) the Content or any part of the Content.
If you want to obtain our permission to use any of the Content other than as described in these terms then please contact email@example.com
This Website including the Content is protected by copyright and/or other proprietary rights. The Content may include content owned and controlled by third parties and licensed to the Company. All individual articles, reports and other elements making up this Website may be copyright works. You agree to abide by all additional copyright notices or restrictions contained on this Website.
You have no ownership rights or licences in any of our trading names, trademarks or in the Content except for the right to use this Website and to download the Content in accordance with these terms.
You agree to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you become aware of any unauthorised use of this Website by anybody, or of any claim that this Website or any of the Contents infringe any copyright or other rights of any other party.