Are divorces in England and Wales on the rise once again?

According to a 2015 article in the Telegraph, divorces were on the decline.  However, statistics from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) indicate that divorces were once again on the rise in 2016, which leaves many to wonder, what will the figures from 2017 show?  With just one more month in the year, that information may not be long in the coming.  If the figures are anything like last year, family solicitors in London will be kept busy in the new year.

A Comparison of ONS Statistics

According to the ONS, the year 2013 indicated that the divorce rate fell to a low of 9.8 of opposite sex couples per 1000 who were married.  This is a low not seen in almost 40 years.  The last time so few couples were divorced was in 1975.  Unfortunately, 2016 statistics show a whole other story.  Statistics from 2016 indicated that divorces were up 5.8 percent as compared with statistics from the previous year. 

Sadly, these figures are just referring to traditional marriages between men and women.  This does not account for same sex marriages.  Divorce rates actually peaked in 2003 and 2004 and have yet to reach those heights.  However, there is every indication that if the trend holds, England and Wales may even peak above that level.

A Ray of Sunshine in the Darkness?

As mentioned, figures from 2016 statistics were still lower than the peak in 2003 and 2004. In fact, they were 30 per cent lower than 12 years previously, but they continue to rise. There may yet be a ray of sunshine on the horizon if qualified family solicitors in London and elsewhere in England and Wales are able to help couples work through issues they are currently facing. All separations do not necessarily lead to divorce, and sometimes it is the family solicitor who is able to aid couples in finding amicable solutions.

Did the Economy Play a Role in High Divorce Rates?

Some sociologists believe that those high rates of divorce were the result of ongoing financial stressors due to the prolonged recession which began in late 2008. After five or six years of struggling, couples finally gave over to despair. With the economy well on the rebound and employment rates on the rise, marriage counsellors and family solicitors were seeing fewer couples on their doorsteps.

That appeared to be the case until the past year or two. It is unclear what could be causing a spike in divorces but, again, all is not doom and gloom because the nation has yet to see record-breaking statistics from the previous decade. Perhaps the answers many seek will lie in comparing statistics from the ONS on the state of the economy with current percentages of marriages ending in divorce. If there is a clear link drawn between the two, this may enable us to better predict future trends.

You Are the Ultimate Author of Your Future

Although the divorce rate in England and Wales is rising once again, or appears to be the trend until the new figures are released, this doesn’t need to impact couples seeking solutions in their own marital woes. A family solicitor or marriage counsellor can help individual couples find viable solutions. Statistics only show what has happened. You, as a couple, can change your own future. Let that be your guiding light.