Divorce By Numbers

This week we have been having a look at some figures about divorce produced by the Office of National Statistics.

There were 13 divorces an hour* in England and Wales in 2012. A total of 118,140 across the year.

Almost half of these divorces occurred in the first ten years of marriage with divorces most likely to occur between the 4th and 8th wedding anniversary.

The average age at divorce was 45 for men and 42 for women. However divorce for older couples is quite common with 9,073 men and 6,026 women aged over 60 among those divorcing.

The majority (71%) of the divorces were for first marriages however for 9% of the couples divorcing both had divorced previously.

48% of couples divorcing had at least one child aged under 16 living with the family.

Women were more likely to instigate the proceedings than men with 65% of the divorces being granted to women.

Perhaps the most startling statistic is that it is expected that 42% of marriages will end in divorce.

If you find yourself facing the prospect of separation or divorce the only numbers that matter are those in respect of your family and your finances. Important numbers may include:

  • How many days each week will I spend with my children?
  • How much equity is there in my home, how much of it will I be entitled to?
  • How might my pension be affected?
  • How much money do I need each month to manage; do I have to compromise on my lifestyle?

Whilst the statistics show that you are far from alone when you are going through a separation it can feel a lonely and bewildering place to be. You will probably hear lots of stories of other people’s experiences of divorce good, bad, and indifferent. The reality is that because every family is different it is very hard to compare your circumstances with what someone else has been through.

A specialist family solicitor can provide you advice tailored exactly to your circumstances and your objectives. You don’t need to feel in the dark about what to expect or feel that one size has to fit all. It doesn’t.

At Betteridges we can help you to navigate the numbers and more importantly what those numbers mean for you and your family on a day to day basis – today, tomorrow, and for all the years to come.

One further question that arises from these statistics is that if divorce and separation are unavoidable for so many what can be done to give couples more certainty and security should the worst happen. The Law Commission believe there should be more certainty for couples who separate in terms of what will happen with their assets. But can the law really achieve that certainty when one size cannot fit all. Is making your own agreements before marriage the fairest way? Recent years have seen pre-nuptial agreements become significantly more likely to be upheld (please see our pre-nup page). Should everyone have a pre-nuptial agreement before marrying?

Tell us what you think: in light of the prospect that virtually half of all marriages may end in divorce should pre-nuptial agreements be more common place?

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