The latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) report a decrease of 9.1% for UK divorces in 2015 compared to the previous year. The report showed that divorces of opposite sex couples has declined by 34% since a recent peak in 2003, and the divorce rate was highest among couples aged 40-44. In total, there were 101,055 UK divorces between opposite sex couples in 2015, and 22 divorces of same sex couples (following the passing of legislation to allow same sex marriage and divorce in England and Wales in March, 2014).
Nigel Shepherd, chair of family law organisation Resolution, commented on the report, suggesting that these statistics may reflect a lower rate of marriage in the UK, and that couples may be putting off separation due to uncertainty over finances:
“Today’s statistics show a fall in both divorce numbers and the divorce rate. There could be a number of reasons for this. One feature we have seen historically is that when families are struggling financially, many delay separating until they have more certainty over finances.
“The fall in divorce numbers correlates to a decline of marriages, and we know that cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family type in the UK, currently making up nearly 10% of the population. Today’s figures are further evidence that cohabiting couples are a major feature of our modern society: sadly our current laws are failing them.
“Rather than continuing to ignore the millions of cohabiting families in the UK, the new Government must reform the law to provide some basic legal protection and fair outcomes at a time of a cohabiting couple’s separation.”
Resolution’s campaign for no-fault divorce highlights the need for greater support for couples who wish to separate without a lengthy court process, and the ability to divorce without assigning blame, which fosters animosity and increases the duration and cost of the separation process.
Existing out-of-court alternatives which offer couples the opportunity to resolve their relationship disputes in privacy, with the support of an experienced family lawyer, arbitrator or mediator, and have been shown to improve outcomes for couples with children in particular.
For more information on the options available, and to speak with a friendly family solicitor, get in touch with the divorce team at Frances Lindsay & Co. We offer a range of legal services across the Thames Valley, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, including Windsor, Beaconsfield, Maidenhead, Marlow, Gerrards Cross, and Henley. Let us take the weight off your shoulders and find the right method of separation for your circumstances.arbitration, divorce and separation, divorce without blame, mediation, no fault divorce