Family Law Hub

Divorce rates for opposite-sex couples in England and Wales are at their lowest level since 1973

Figures published in the latest ONS bulletin covering the whole of 2017

  • The number of divorces between opposite sex couples has dropped to the lowest level since 1973 after the latest ONS bulletin covering 2017 which showed a 4.9% drop on 2016.

    Commenting on the figures, Nicola Haines of the Office for National Statistics, stated that

    "Divorce rates for opposite-sex couples in England and Wales are at their lowest level since 1973, which is around forty per cent lower than their peak in 1993. However, among older people rates are actually higher in 2017 than in 1993 – perhaps due to the fact we have an increasingly ageing population and people are getting married later in life.

    The number of divorces among same-sex couples more than trebled between 2016 and 2017 - although this is not surprising since marriages of same-sex couples have only been possible in England and Wales since March 2014."

    Other notable figures contained in the bulletin are: 

    • there were 101,669 divorces of opposite-sex couples in England and Wales in 2017, a decrease of 4.9% compared with 2016, but similar to the number seen in 2015 (101,055)
    • there were 338 divorces of same-sex couples in 2017, more than three times the number in 2016 (112 divorces); three-quarters (74%) of same-sex couples divorcing in 2017 were female
    • in 2017, there were 8.4 divorces of opposite-sex couples per 1,000 married men and women aged 16 years and over (divorce rates), representing the lowest divorce rates since 1973 and a 5.6% decrease from 2016
    • the divorce rate for opposite-sex couples was highest among men aged 45 to 49 years and women aged 40 to 44 years
    • the average (median) duration of marriage at the time of divorce was 12.2 years for opposite-sex couples; this matches the high last seen in 1972
    • unreasonable behaviour was the most common reason for opposite-sex couples divorcing with 52% of wives and 37% of husbands petitioning on these grounds; it was also the most common reason for same-sex couples divorcing, accounting for 83% of divorces among women and 73% among men.

    You can read the full set of figures on the ONS website.

News, published: 28/09/2018

Topics

Items referring to this


Published: 28/09/2018

Copyright 

Copyright in the original legal material published on the Family Law Hub is vested in Mills & Reeve LLP (as per date of publication shown on screen) unless indicated otherwise.

Disclaimer

The Family Law Hub website relates to the legal position in England Wales and all of the material within it has been prepared with the aim of providing key information only and does not constitute legal advice in relation to any particular situation. While Mills & Reeve LLP aims to ensure that the information is correct at the date on which it is added to the website, the legal position can change frequently, and content will not always be updated following any relevant changes. You therefore acknowledge and agree that Mills & Reeve LLP and its members and employees accept no liability whatsoever in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss or damage caused by or arising directly or indirectly in connection with any use or reliance on the contents of our website except to the extent that such liability cannot be excluded by law.

Bookmark this item