You may have seen in the media recently some concerning facts about soaring divorce rates. In this article we share a quick update of the latest divorce statistics and what the future could hold for separating couples.


Divorces have risen at the sharpest rate in 50 years according to data from the Office for National Statistics, who publish this information each November.

  • In England and Wales over 100,000 couples divorced in 2019, which is an 18.4% increase on the previous year and the highest number since 2014.
  • Unreasonable behaviour was the most common reason for couples divorcing.
  • The average duration of marriage at the time of divorce was 12.3 years.

Why Has The Divorce Rate Increased?


One reason that the divorce rate may have increased is due to the number of same-sex marriages that ended in divorce last year. There were nearly twice the number of same-sex divorces in 2019. Same-sex couples have been able to marry in the UK since 2014, therefore, the figures have seen an increase year-on-year since then. These relationship breakdowns before then would not have been included in any figures as they would be classed as a separation rather than a divorce.


There has been a significant number of same-sex female marriages that ended in divorce in 2019. There were 822 divorces among same-sex couples, of these, 72% were between female couples. Natalie Drew (the founder of Britain’s first fertility clinic for same-sex couples) believes that the reason for this is that many women rushed into traditional married life, after gay marriage became legalised, which some couples were just unsuited for.


Another factor to consider is that due to changes in the family courts, there was a back-log of cases from 2018 which spilled over into 2019 that could fog the statistics.


Top 10 Reasons For Divorce

  1. Infidelity
  2. Finances
  3. Lack of communication
  4. Arguments
  5. Weight gain
  6. Lack of intimacy
  7. Unrealistic expectation of marriage
  8. Lack of equality
  9. Not being prepared for marriage
  10. Abuse

Other reasons that frequently appear in surveys include alcohol or substance abuse, lack of appreciation, problems with in-laws or family members, wanting different things and getting married too young.


Wedding cake couple split divorce

What Does The Future Hold?


The pandemic has put increasing pressure on relationships and families, with many divorce lawyers seeing a flurry of new enquiries over the summer and predicting a ‘post-covid divorce boom’ as we emerge from lockdown restrictions altogether (whenever that might be).


It is not all doom and gloom however, as although divorces are likely to spike, the trials and tribulations of the pandemic have brought some relationships closer than ever. With fewer distractions and plenty of quality time together, enjoying the simpler things in life has re-ignited relationships for some.


Covid-19 has meant that 9 in 10 couples due to get married in the height of lockdown postponed their weddings to 2021 and some have even pushed their weddings back as far as 2022 just to be safe and secure their dream venues.


‘No Fault Divorce’ looks likely to come into place in the autumn of 2021. This is a reform of the current divorce laws, bringing them up to date with modern relationships, updating the language used in petitions and removing the need for one party to hold the ‘blame’ for the marriage ending. This has been campaigned for by Resolution and other organisations for over 30 years. It is expected that the introduction of No-Fault divorce could see another spike of divorces in the latter part of 2021 and into 2022.


There is still a growing trend of fewer people getting married each year. There are a number of reasons and theories behind why, but fewer millennials are deciding to tie the knot, more couples are living together un-married than ever before. This could see divorce statistics look more promising in the future, as fewer marriages will naturally mean fewer divorces.


Getting Advice at Any Stage


If you are considering divorce or need legal advice on family matters, then please get in touch with our Family Law Team today on 01256 844888 or email enquiries@lambbrooks.com.


Whether you are looking for initial advice before discussing separation with your spouse, are already separated or are looking to put some protection in place for a new relationship, our friendly and understanding team are here to help.


Other Articles You May Be Interested in Reading:

The Importance of Early Advice & What To Expect

7 Tips to Cope With Separation During Lockdown

10 Things You Can Do To Prepare For Divorce


The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.