Divorce Rate Falls By A Quarter

Newly released statistics reveal that the divorce rate has fallen by more than a quarter since its high of recent years.

The 2014 total of 111,169 divorces is down 3.1% on the previous year but has dipped a dramatic 27% since the 2003 figure.

The highest number of men divorced in the 45 to 49 age group while the number of women divorcing peaked in the 40 to 44 group. The average age of both men and women divorcing has risen annually since 1985.

The overall number of divorces declined from 2003 to 2009 in line with a fall in marriages taking place during that time. The figure remained steady from 2009 to 2012 before the downtrend resumed.

The ONS says the fall might be partly explained by more couples choosing to cohabit, while fewer people are marrying in their teenage years and early-20s, which increases the statistical risk of them later divorcing.

The figures, which are the most up to date available, have been produced by the Office for National Statistics by analysing court data from throughout England and Wales.

As well as divorces they also include annulments, where marriages are found not to have been legally valid, but not cases where couples have split but not divorced.

The family team at Macks Solicitors said: “With the changes in society it is now much more the norm for couples to cohabit before marriage.

“It is therefore likely that the stronger relationships will progress to marriage and will be less likely to result in divorce. With more couples cohabiting, it makes it even more necessary for the rights and responsibilities of cohabiting couples to be formalised.

“Couples who live together and bring up children are often under the impression that they have the same rights as if they had been married, but this is not the position under current law.

“I also anticipate that economic factors and the lack of legal aid may mean that some married couples consider their relationship is at an end but do not divorce and continue to live together.

“Not only will this put the parties under a great deal of stress but it will inevitably impact upon any children. Even if a couple separate but decide not to incur the cost of formalising their separation by way of a divorce, they may try to resolve financial issues themselves without legal advice.

“In some situations this may create a problem in the future which may be impossible to change or, if it can be changed, it may be costly to rectify.

“When embarking on anything that has potential legal implications it is generally useful to seek some legal advice, whether this is at the beginning of a cohabiting relationship or if a marriage breakdown is on the cards.

“At Macks we will tailor our legal advice to your particular problem and budget. We recognise that in some situations clients may simply want some specific advice to help lay some foundations but may wish to finish the job off themselves.

“If the foundations are not correctly laid, there is a risk they will come tumbling down at some point in the future.”

Contact Macks Solicitors on 01325 270843 for caring, expert advice on all aspects of family law.

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