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Divorce rate falls in latest ONS figures

Date:23 NOV 2015
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Journals Manager + Online Editor
The number of people divorcing in England and Wales decreased by 2.9 per cent in 2013, according to the latest statistical bulletin published today (23 November 2015) from Office for National Statistics (ONS).

There were a total of 114,720 divorces in England and Wales in 2013 compared to 118,140 divorces in 2012. The figures reveal that the number of divorces in 2013 was highest among men and women aged 40 to 44.

Following a decline in the number of divorces between 2003 and 2009 (from 153,065 to 113,949) there was a 4.9% increase in divorces in 2010. The fall in divorces to 2009 is consistent with a decline in the number of marriages over the same period. ONS suggests that the decrease in marriages may be due to the increasing number of couples choosing to cohabit rather than enter into marriage.

Almost half (48%) of couples divorcing in 2013 had at least 1 child aged under 16 living in the family. Over a fifth (21%) of the children in 2013 were under 5 and 64% were under 11.

The statistics come as Resolution releases new research showing that around eight out of ten children and young people with experience of parental separation or divorce would prefer their parents to split up if they are unhappy, rather than stay together.

Jo Edwards, chair of Resolution, comments:

'The latest data from the Office of National Statistics shows that the divorce rate has dropped. There are many possible reasons for this - the lack of availability of family legal aid may mean that people simply aren't getting the support they need to bring their relationship to a formal conclusion. The rise in cohabiting couples, the fastest growing type of household in Britain, may also play a role - cohabitation separation is not included in these statistics. 
Whatever the reason, there are still many thousands of British families who are experiencing family breakdown every year, whether that's divorce or separation. The Resolution Parenting Charter, which asks parents to put their children's needs first during divorce, is more crucial than ever. We know from our own research released today that children are more concerned about the conflict and acrimony that accompanies divorce than the divorce itself. That's why it's vital that divorcing and separating parents agree to put their differences aside and work together in the ongoing interests of their family.'
The ONS statistical bulletin on 2013 divorce rates is available to download here - ONS statistical bulletin - 2013 divorce figures.pdf

Resolution's fourth Family Dispute Resolution Week runs from 23-27 November 2015.

This awareness-raising week aims to highlight the alternatives to court for separating couples and their families. Support the campaign on Twitter using #childrenfirst#ResolutionWeek and #familylaw.