Rainscourt Family Law Solicitors

How Many UK Marriages End in Divorce (and other interesting statistics)?

The UK Office for National Statistics have released the most recent figures on divorce in the England & Wales (figures for 2016). We have highlighted some of the more interesting statistics from their publication.

  1. The estimated percentage of marriages ending in divorce (assuming 2010 divorce and mortality rates throughout the duration of marriage) is 42%. Around half of these divorces are expected to occur in the first 10 years of marriage.
  2. In 2016, the number of divorces increased by 5.8% compared with 2015.
  3. Divorces in 2016 are 30% lower than the most recent peak in divorce numbers seen in 2003.
  4. The average (mean) age at divorce for opposite-sex couples in 2016 was 46.1 years for men and 43.7 years for women. The average age at divorce has increased year-on-year since 1985, rising by more than 8 years for both men and women.
  5. Divorce rates among opposite-sex couples in 2016 were highest among men aged 45 to 49 and among women in their thirties (ages 30 to 39). This reflects the fact that women generally marry men older than themselves.
  6. The median duration of marriage (the mid-point of all durations) for divorces granted to opposite-sex couples in 2016 was 12.0 years, increasing slightly from 11.9 in 2015.
  7. The majority of divorces in 2016 where a decree absolute was granted, were petitioned by the wife (61%). The most common grounds for divorce was unreasonable behaviour, with 36% of all husbands and 51% of all wives petitioning for divorce on these grounds.

Update on 20/03/19: we have published an up to date post with new and updated facts from the latest ONS statistics: Remarkable UK Divorce Facts

For more interesting and suprising divorce facts, see our previous blogs 10 surprising facts about modern divorce in the UK from 2014 and 10 new suprising and unexpected facts about divorce in the UK from 2017

Divorce statistics

Divorce by Ghazaleh Ghazanfari

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. The full publication can be read here.

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