Divorce rates at lowest level in decades - Boodle Hatfield

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22 Feb 2024

Divorce rates at lowest level in decades

2 min read

Divorces granted in England and Wales reached their lowest level for 50 years, according to the latest statistics. There were 80,057 divorces granted in the two nations in 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics which also said it was the lowest number of divorces since 1971. The 2022 figure is down by more than a quarter (29.5%) compared with 2021, when there were 113,505 divorces granted.

Katie O’Callaghan, Partner at Boodle Hatfield: "The strain that the cost of living crisis and rising inflation has had on families cannot be underestimated. Many are cautious to make significant decisions, particularly those that are likely to adversely impact their financial security even more in times of economic turmoil and uncertainty. Issues like high mortgage rates are likely to deter some couples from taking action in circumstances where they may simply see it as impossible to afford to split one household into two. 

It has been widely reported that the English Family Court is suffering significant and crippling backlogs in dealing with financial and children proceedings that have been issued as a consequence of divorce. In most cases, it is advisable not to apply for the final order in the divorce (which dissolves your marriage) until the finances have been concluded. Equally, some children disputes require the determination of the finances to be deferred (and therefore the divorce too) as the financial outcome may depend on where a child is going to live, for example. These factors are likely, therefore, to impact the divorce statistics. Even if divorces have been initiated, it may be that the final order is delayed by months, or even years, if the finances and/or children arrangements are not yet resolved.

Fewer people are getting married, which is of course likely to have an overall impact on the number of divorces. Many more couples are choosing simply to cohabit together and having children out of wedlock is no longer considered taboo, in fact, more children in this country are now born out of wedlock than in. Equally, people are marrying later which will also feed into the lower divorce statistics compared to historic years."

Divorces granted in England and Wales reached their lowest level for 50 years, according to the latest statistics. There were 80,057 divorces granted in the two nations in 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics which also said it was the lowest number of divorces since 1971.

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