More than 200,000 people divorced in 2019

17 November 2020

The Office for National Statistics has just released figures for 2019 which show that there was nearly a 20% rise in the number of divorces last year in England and Wales.

The increase of 18.4% is said to be attributable in part to the Court Service catching up on delays from 2018. While that may be correct, the Court Service still performs poorly and there is no reason to suppose delays will not continue.

There were 107,599 opposite-sex divorces in 2019 and 822 same-sex dissolutions or divorces, twice the number in 2018.

The statistics show that the median length of a marriage for opposite-sex couples who divorced was 12.3 years. 

By contrast, the median length of a same-sex marriage for those who divorced was 4.1 years for women and 4.3 years for men.

The level of co-habitation continues to rise and the number of marriages continues to fall, and there are signs of a longer term increase in the percentage of marriages ending in divorce.

What these bare statistics do not show is the amount of pain, grief, distress, fear, anger and anxiety which an increasing number of married couples experience. 

Put together with about 280,000 children who see their parents separate each year and this is an enormously distressing picture.

Family solicitors have a vital role to play at every stage.

Any decision to separate is bound to be highly emotional for both parties.

As family lawyers we work with therapists, counsellors, divorce coaches, and divorce consultants who can help couples see if there are prospects of reconciliation. If there aren’t, they can help couples through the process of separation and moving on.

Family lawyers can provide expert advice about the legal implications, financial and about the children, enabling couples to make informed decisions before and after separation.

As members of Resolution at Wilsons we subscribe to a Code of Practice. That encourages working together collaboratively and positively, to reduce and manage conflict and to help clients find the best outcomes for them and their families.

It discourages unnecessary aggressive and abrasive approaches which serve only to make things worse for everyone, especially children.

Resolution is an organisation representing over 6,500 lawyers and family law professionals and its Code of Practice can be found here.

Graham Coy is a member of Resolution and a qualified and experienced family mediator and arbitrator. If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article please contact Graham or use the enquiry form below.

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