Divorce rate shoots up

The latest Office of National Statistics figures for 2016 have revealed a sharp rise of 5.8% in the divorce rate for opposite sex couples in England and Wales. This rise bucks the trend of the past five years where the divorce rate has gone down.

There were 106,959 divorces in 2016, although this figure is significantly lower than the recent peak of 153,065 in 2003, and the highest ever figure of 165,018 in 1993.

The number of same sex couples divorcing has also increased five-fold, although same sex marriage has only been possible in England and Wales since March 2014. In 2016 there were 112 same sex divorces (78% of these being female couples) compared with only 22 in 2015.

The statistics also show that the most frequently cited reason for marriage breakdown is ‘unreasonable behaviour’, with 45.2% of opposite sex couples and 93.7% of same sex couples referring to it in their divorce papers. Various organisations are urging the government to introduce no-fault divorce in order to avoid the considerable stress and difficulty that can arise in fault-based proceedings. If no-fault divorce is introduced, it may reduce the number of unreasonable behaviour petitions being issued.

Divorce proceedings and the associated financial issues have the potential to cause significant stress and anxiety to both spouses and any children they may have, as well as other family members and friends. Accordingly, seeking expert advice at an early stage will mean that you are made fully aware of the options available to resolve matters in your particular situation.

At Slater Heelis we are focused entirely on achieving the best outcome for you — and our experience and level of commitment is second-to-none. A number of our family solicitors are ranked as leading individuals and recommended lawyers in the authoritative UK legal directories (Legal 500 and Chambers) and all of our family solicitors adhere to the Resolution Code of Practice, which means that they will work with you to resolve your case in a constructive and non-confrontational way.

To get in touch, just call 0161 969 3131 or email a member of the team.