Divorce rates on the rise

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported earlier in October 2017 that in 2016 there were 106,959 divorces of opposite-sex couples in England and Wales. (Read their divorce update).

This figure represents an increase of 5.8% in just 1 year. Whilst the figure of 106,959 seems high, the ONS notes that this figure is actually 30% lower than the most recent peak in divorce numbers seen back in 2003. In 2003 the number of divorces of opposite-sex couples was a huge 153,065.

Although 2016 saw a rise in divorce rates of 5.8% there has been a general downward trend in divorces from the peak numbers of 2003. This trend is likely to be attributed to the rising numbers of those choosing to cohabit as opposed to marrying.

2016 represented the second year that divorces between same-sex couples have been possible. The ONS notes that there were 112 divorces among same-sex couples in England and Wales compared to 22 in 2015. 78% of these divorces were among female couples.

One particularly interesting fact offered by ONS in respect of opposite-sex marriages is that 42% of all such marriages are estimated to end in divorce of which half of these are expected to occur within the first 10 years of marriage!