Does the economy affect divorce statistics?

Year Published: 2011

In December 2011, the Office for National Statistics released its annual figures showing the number of divorces in 2010 throughout England and Wales was 119,589. The number of divorces has increased 4.9% since 2009 when there were 113,949 divorces.

The figures, quite surprisingly, show the first rise in divorces since 2003 when there were 152,923 divorces but since that year there has been a steady decline until the recent figures.

Some experts have attributed the rise in 2010 to the fact the economic position started to look better following the 2008 financial crisis. As a result people grew in confidence and concerns over the financial consequences of a divorce briefly lifted.

Interestingly divorces peaked in 1993 when 165,018 couples got divorced. This coincides with the end of the early 1990’s recession supporting the fact that an upturn in the economy may lead to increased divorce rates.

The economic climate certainly has an effect on the mindset of couples when thinking about divorce. When there are concerns about jobs, houses and surviving on one income, couples tend to favour staying together even if the situation is not ideal. Couples who stay together have the assurance of two incomes and may favour security over happiness in periods of uncertainty.

The number of divorces can only be expected to ultimately decrease in the long-term with fewer people getting married in the first place. The latest economic downturn will not have hit the statistics yet and it seems the trend is still one of a decrease in the number of divorces over a longer period.

If you require advice or assistance on a family or divorce matter, please contact Shelley Chesworth in the Private Client team on 0161 475 7682.

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