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England sees rise in divorce numbers

The Office for National Statistics has recently published a statistical bulletin giving an interesting insight into divorce in England and Wales in 2012.

The figures show that in 2012 the number of divorces in England and Wales increased by 0.5% to 118,140 compared with 117,558 in 2011.

There was apparently a decline in divorce between 2003 and 2009, from 153,065 to 113,949, followed by a 4.9% increase in 2010. Since 2010 the number of divorces has remained relatively stable, fluctuating just below the number recorded in 2010.

The fall in divorces to 2009 is consistent with a decline in the number of marriages, but the ONS highlights that this decrease in marriages to 2009 may be due to the increasing number of couples choosing to cohabit rather than enter into marriage.

Other key divorce facts revealed by the ONS bulletin include:

  • The number of divorces in 2012 was highest among men and women aged 40 to 44.
  • For those married in 1972, 22% of marriages had ended in divorce by their 15th wedding anniversary whereas for those married in 1997, almost a third of marriages had ended by this time.
  • Similarly to the increase in divorces, the number of civil partnership dissolutions also increased in 2012. However, this is part of an upward trend given that this type of partnership is relatively new and therefore the number of people in civil partnerships is increasing.

Source: Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.2.0.

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