Latest figures on births, marriages and deaths from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that there were fewer divorces in 2011 than in 2010. The latest figures for England and Wales revealed there were a total of 117,558 divorces during the 12 month period, representing a 1.7% decrease in the number of couples formally ending their marriage on the previous year. The data continues in line with the trend for fewer divorces as seen over the past few years since the peak in 2003, when there were 153,065 divorces. The current statistics show that 42% of marriages are now expected to end in divorce.

According to the statistics, the age group with the highest divorce rate during 2011 was 40 – 44 year olds. This accords with the statistics of the family law solicitors at Farleys.

The ONS commented that the reduction in the number of divorces correlates with the decline in marriages since 2009. More couples choosing to cohabit rather than or prior to deciding to marry, has been cited as one of the main factors for fewer marriages in recent years.

Other factors widely cited for the lesser number of divorces over recent years are the recession and the decline in the property market. It has been proposed that many couples are simply postponing the eventuality of divorce in order to realise greater valuations on property or businesses.  Indeed, we have experienced a growing number of people seeking advice at an earlier stage, when they are initially considering divorce or separation, to get a complete picture of their options for when the time is right.

With the road to economic recovery looking slow and bumpy for the foreseeable future, it will become increasingly difficult for couples in this situation. Indeed the strain of financial difficulties in itself can result in pressure on relationships, so those which are already in difficulty will most likely feel the tension even more.

If you are facing separation from your spouse or you have decided that it is unfortunately time to formalise the end of your relationship by filing for divorce, it is vital that you seek advice on your options at the earliest opportunity. A chat with a family law solicitor can help to clarify the appropriate way forward for you, allowing an informed decision to be made and the first steps to be taken.

For a free of charge initial discussion with an expert divorce lawyer, please do not hesitate to contact us.