Rainscourt Family Law Solicitors

10 surprising facts about modern divorce in the UK

1. Fewer married couples are getting divorced. 

In 2012 (the most recent year for which we have data) the divorce rate was 10.8 per thousand married population. The divorce rate has been stable since 2008. This is the lowest rate in the UK since the 70s. The divorce rate peaked in the mid 90s at 14 per thousand married population.

2. Married women in their late twenties are the most likely to get divorced.

The divorce rate is highest for women aged 25-29 at 23.6 per thousand married population, over twice the average.

3. Divorcing couples are getting older.

The average ages for men and women getting divorced are 44.7 and 42.2 respectively. The ages have been consistently getting older for the past 30 years.

4. Marriages are getting longer.

The average (median) marriage length for divorces granted is now 11.5 years. Marriage length has been steadily increasing from a low of 8.9 years in 1985.

5. Divorced people are less likely to get remarried.

In 2012, only 28.6% of marriages took place where one or both parties had previously been divorced. This is the lowest proportion since 1997. 45,000 divorced people got remarried in 2012, down from the peak of 61,000 in 2004.

6. Fewer couples are divorcing on the basis of adultery.

In 2012, only 14% of divorces were granted on the basis of adultery. This proportion has been falling consistently since a peak 1987 when over one third (35%) of divorces were granted and adultery was the fact proven.

7. A greater proportion of divorces are being granted to men.

The proportion of men being granted a divorce has been rising steadily since 1985, when they accounted for 27.8% of the total. This figure has been consistently rising, and now stands at 35.2%.

8. The “Seven Year Itch” is real.

Couples have the highest chance of divorce around the seventh year of their marriage (3.2% probability in the year). Once couples have reached their silver wedding anniversary, chances of divorce have fallen to less than 1% per year.

9. Couples marrying more recently are less likely to get divorced.

The more recent the marriage, the less likely it is to end in divorce. For example, those marrying after 2006 have a 5% likelihood that they will have divorced by their 5th anniversary, compared to an 8% likelihood for those married between 1987 and 1995.

10. Most marriages will not end in divorce.

It’s good to be reminded that divorce is still the least likely outcome for a marriage. 58% of marriages today will not end in divorce, and around 10% should reach their diamond wedding anniversary (60 years).

If you enjoyed this 2014 blog, we have written an new list of suprising divorce facts in 2017 and How Many UK Marriages End in Divorce (and other interesting statistics)? in 2018.

*All data sourced from the Office of National Statistics release “Divorces in England & Wales, 2012” 06/02/14.
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