Divorce rate falls again

The Office for National Statistics has today released the latest (2007) figures for divorces and civil partnership dissolution. Here are some of the findings, mostly relating to England and Wales:
  • The divorce rate fell for a third consecutive year, reaching its lowest level since 1981.
  • Rates for both men and women fell across most age groups, but increased for men and women aged 60 and over, and also for women aged between 45 and 49.
  • For the sixth consecutive year both men and women in their late twenties had the highest divorce rates.
  • The average duration of marriage for divorces granted in 2007 increased to 11.7 years.
  • One in five men and women divorcing in 2007 had a previous marriage ending in divorce.
  • 68 per cent of divorces were granted to wives and in 54 per cent of these cases the husband’s behaviour was the fact proven.
  • 51 per cent of couples divorcing in 2007 had at least one child aged under 16.
  • The average age at divorce for women increased to 41.2 years, and for men to 43.7 years.
Last year the news was similar, and I made a joke about unemployed divorce lawyers. This year, with the state of the profession, such a joke would ring a little hollow...


  1. Do you think this is driven by economics, John? Maybe when houses are worth less, mortgages hard to get and jobs a bit uncertain, divorce seems much less of a good idea.

  2. It could be, although the figures precede the present economic downturn. Some speculate that the downturn will reduce the number of divorces for the reasons you state, others speculate that economic pressures may increase the number of marriage breakdowns.

  3. Surely this is because fewer people are marrying? I thought marriages are at an all time low? Thought I read it somewhere.

    Think there is a report due on pre nups being enforceable due in 2012, maybe then, or with a Tory Government tax break or two would get more married (then divorced).

    There are more questions than answers. I do think that the real question is why are so few marrying? Sorry to be nasty, but having seen how destructive and unfair divorces with children can be (when regarding their parents, like I have) people choose not to marry.

    Miller and less so McFarlane may have helped too. Also when pensions were put in the pot may have been the last straw. I am trying to lobby to bring in pre nups as would like to marry again but wouldn't after the run around I had with my divorce.

    Isn't it due to declining marriage rate?

  4. The declining marriage rate is almost certainly a factor, but I'm not sure it's the only one.


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