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Divorce Rates & Statistics in the UK (England & Wales) 2021

Wedding rings

Originally published on 10th December 2019 at 1:32 PM

The Office for National Statistics recently (2019) released new data and statistics on divorcing couples in 2018. We mapped these statistics on to an infographic which you can see below. We’ve also summarised the main points below and offered some comments too based on what we’re experiencing as a divorce services company.

  • 90,871 couples of the opposite sex divorced in 2018 - this is a 10.7% decrease on 2017
  • 428 same sex couples divorced in 2018, this is 26.6% more than 2017

Why did divorce rates decrease?

It’s estimated that the drop in divorces (which is at it’s lowest rate since 2017) is due to the administrative backlog. The courts are inundated with paperwork and haven’t processed divorce paperwork for many couples.

Divorce centres across England and Wales processed a backlog of paperwork in 2018, resulting in 8% more divorce petitions. It’s likely we will see a rise in divorce rates in 2019 because of this.

Marriage rates have more than halved since the 1960s and 1970s. This is largely due to a change in attitudes to cohabitation as an alternative to marriage or prior to marriage, particularly at younger ages.

This has been contributing to the decrease in divorce rates over the last 25 years. Over this period, levels of cohabitation increased so that by 2016, almost 9 in 10 couples (88%) were cohabiting before marriage.

  • The average length of marriages for couples who divorced in 2018, is 12.5 years. Marriages are getting longer, as people test the water before committing to marriage by co-habiting
  • The average age for divorce is 46 years old for men and 44 years old for women
  • The ‘blame game’ (divorcing your partner by using one of the blame-based reasons) affected 57.13% of divorcing couples in 2018
  • It was announced in 2019 that ‘No fault divorce’ will be introduced in England and Wales but there is no timeline on when the divorce laws will change. Because of this, unreasonable behaviour remained the most popular reason used on the divorce forms, for opposite and same sex couples

 Infographic: Divorce Rates and Statistics for England and Wales 

Inforgraphic of divorce rates 2018

Hannah Hodgkinson
Hannah Hodgkinson
Hannah Hodgkinson is Head of Marketing at amicable. Hannah has over six years experience working for global NGOs and private consultancies and has a passion for marketing for companies with a social purpose


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