Official figures recently released by the Office for National Statistics show that divorce rates for opposite sex couples have increased for the first time since 2009.

106,959 divorces were granted in 2016 for opposite sex couples. The most commonly used reason for divorce is the unreasonable behaviour of the other party, examples of which can be extremely wide ranging in scope. The figures show a steady increase in the proportion of divorces granted to men, due to their wife’s unreasonable behaviour.

Divorce rates among opposite sex couples were highest among men aged 45-49 and among women in their 30’s. Apparently this reflects the fact that women tend to marry men older than themselves.

However, divorce rates have increased fastest amongst older people, and it is the over 50’s where the divorce rate has increased the most.

According to Resolution, a national organisation of family lawyers, this “peak” in rates is not reflective of an overall trend of lower divorce rates in recent years. Resolution believe the overall downward trend of divorcing couples is due to the fact that there is an increase in couples who are choosing not to marry but to live together.

The picture is undoubtedly a confusing one. What is certain, is that the reality behind the statistics
is that for those going through a divorce, it can be an incredibly difficult and stressful time. What we know is, dealing with emotions involved in a separation, often coupled with worries regarding finance and issues regarding children, can feel daunting and confusing.

What we also know is that obtaining early information and legal advice on your options, if you are separating or becoming divorced, can and will provide reassurance and hopefully a plan to move forward.

If you are separating or becoming divorced, and need guidance in terms of what to do next, please contact Jo Scott on js@kiddspoorlaw.co.uk or call 0191 2970011.