A surge in divorces in England and Wales
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has recently revealed data which shows that the number of divorces between heterosexual couples rose by 18.4%, from 90,871 in 2018 to 107,599 last year. Divorces in same-sex couples in England and Wales has also doubled, from 428 in 2018 to 822 in 2019.
ONS has revealed that unreasonable behaviour was the most common ground for divorce among same-sex couples this year, with around two-thirds of couples divorcing for this reason. This reason was also highly cited in heterosexual marriages where 49% of wives and 35% of husbands filed for divorce due to this reason.
Currently, in order to divorce, either one spouse must allege adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion by the other. A person can only apply for a divorce by way of agreement by both parties if they have been separated from their spouse for two years.
This is all set to change next autumn however with “no-fault” divorce due to be introduced. For more information, please see our blog on “No Fault” Divorce.
Last year’s increase in divorce was the highest in percentage terms since 1972. Many commentators predict the divorce rate will increase further amid concerns that the coronavirus pandemic is putting a strain on relationships.
Where divorce proceedings are increasing it is still important to contact a solicitor for advice in relation to this. As our previous blog highlights, the devil really is in the detail.