The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that divorce cases are on the rise as the number of divorces filed in 2019 saw an increase of 18.4% from the preceding year, the largest annual percentage increase in the number of divorces since 1972.
It is presumable that this increase could be accounted for by the incorporation of same-sex divorces, due to the fact that same-sex marriage was legalised in 2014, so could this lead to an upsurge in the divorce figures? Unfortunately, this is not the case. The annual increase of 18.4% relates only to divorces among heterosexual couples and, therefore, excludes same-sex marriages. Whilst there has been a suggestion that divorce processing in 2018 was slower, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that divorce is featuring more prominently in society.
Sadly, divorce among same-sex couples in England and Wales has also shown a marked increase from 2018 to 2019, almost doubling in that timeframe.
Why Might Divorce Cases Be On the Rise?
The most common reason for couples filing for divorce is reported to be ‘unreasonable behaviour’, with 49% wives and 35% husbands citing this as the reason in heterosexual marriages; and 63% female and 70% male same-sex marriages.
However, the figures are not necessarily indicative of people being generally unhappier in marriage than in previous years, it may simply be that people are less willing to remain trapped in unsatisfactory marriages than historically.
Whatever the cause, this trend is unlikely to change. With the impact of COVID-19 placing unprecedented strains on marriages in terms of home-schooling, financial worries and enforced proximity during lockdown.
If you are facing problems within your marriage, which you fear may be unsurmountable, it is advisable to speak to an expert for peace of mind. Most family law solicitors will offer a free or fixed fee consultation to provide information and options.