The latest statistics on marriages and divorces have been released and the divorce rates are down again slightly with 42% of marriages in England and Wales now ending in divorce.


There are various reasons to suggest why the overall divorce rate figures have been falling over recent years;

  • Fewer people are deciding to get married (less marriages, means less divorces).
  • Those who are getting married tend to do so at an older age than their parent’s generation, perhaps helping them to make better choices and settle down with the right person.
  • Many people are choosing to cohabit before getting married, which gives people a better understanding of whether their relationship will stand the test of time.


Cohabiting couples are the fastest growing household type in the UK – however a large proportion of couples living together will separate each year too – there just aren’t statistics available for this.


This is where divorce lawyers are seeing an increase in work for cohabitation agreements and pre-nuptial agreements as people are becoming savvier on their legal rights and looking to protect their property or wealth in the event of a break up.


Divorce Statistics


Divorce rates are highest for men age 45-49 and women age 40-44. This reflects that on average there is an age difference between married couples.


The average length of a marriage is 12.2 years, with 60% of marriages ending before their 20th wedding anniversary.


Second marriages fare better as couples who have been married before are much less likely to get divorced again. Just 8% of marriages where both partners have been married previously end in divorce.


62% of divorces are instigated by females.


Keep scrolling for insight into the main reasons for divorce…

Reasons for Divorce


The most common reason for separation when people petition for a divorce is ‘unreasonable behaviour’. This could be a range of things from financial disagreements, family arguments, lack of emotional support, drinking / gambling problems, abuse etc.


83% of wives petitioning for divorce used ‘unreasonable behaviour’ when filing.


Changes are being made to the divorce process, which will mean in the future there will be a ‘no fault’ option. This is expected to be used for many couples who have simply grown apart, want different things or have fallen out of love – which we expect will account for quite a high number of separations.


We are not holding our breath for these changes just yet – with the current policital landscape, we expect this is much further down on the Government’s agenda!


If you are looking for legal advice on divorce or separation then please contact our understanding, specialist Family Law Team on 01256 844888 or email enquiries@lambbrooks.com



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.