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2019 Divorce Statistics released today: 'Unreasonable Behaviour' used by 35% of all husbands and 49% of all wives

2019 Divorce Statistics released today:  'Unreasonable Behaviour' used by 35% of all husbands and 49% of all wives

The Office for National Statistics has today published the Divorce statistics for 2019 and the data shows 107,599 divorces to be the highest seen since 2014's high peak of 111,169 divorces.

There were also x822 same-sex divorces, nearly twice the number (x428) in 2018.

'Unreasonable Behaviour' was the most common grounds for divorce: 

  • There were 107,599 divorces of opposite-sex couples in 2019, increasing by 18.4% from 90,871 in 2018.

  • The divorce rate among opposite-sex couples in 2019 increased to 8.9 divorces per 1,000 married men and women aged 16 years and over, previously 7.5 per 1,000 in 2018.

  • There were 822 divorces among same-sex couples in 2019, nearly twice the number in 2018 (428 divorces); of these, nearly three-quarters (72%) were between female couples.

  • Unreasonable behaviour was the most common reason for opposite-sex couples divorcing in 2019 with 49% of wives and 35% of husbands petitioning on these grounds; it was also the most common reason for same-sex couples divorcing, accounting for 63% of divorces among women and 70% among men.

Unreasonable Behaviour had 35% of all husbands and 49% of all wives petitioning for divorce on these grounds in 2019.

This has consistently been the most common grounds for wives petitioning for divorce since the late 1970s; previously, it was named "cruelty". Unreasonable behaviour has only been the most common ground for husbands petitioning since 2006; in the 1980s and 1990s adultery was generally the most common ground for husbands petitioning, while between 1999 and 2005 it was separation (two years with consent).  The changes in society, relationships, attitudes and population numbers contribute to these swings in the changing grounds for divorce.

Unreasonable Behaviour was the most common ground for divorces among same-sex couples in 2019 and 65% of same-sex couples divorced for this reason (70% of male same-sex divorces and 63% of female same-sex divorces).

Coronavirus pandemic effect on Divorce

"For 2020, divorce lawyers are predicting another rise in the divorce rate due to marriage difficulties and family tensions caused by lockdown and an increase in domestic violence. Divorce based on grounds of Unreasonable Behaviour means:

A husband or wife who has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them. This could include:

      • physical violence

      • verbal abuse, such as insults or threats

      • drunkenness or drug-taking

      • refusing to pay towards shared living expenses."

Emma Piff
Emma Piff, Solicitor and Head of Family,
Lawson-West Solicitrs, Leicester

If you are affected by an unsettled or difficult marriage and want to find our more about your options for mediation or divorce, please get in touch.

Grounds for Divorce

Useful links: 

View the full ONS 2019 Divorce statistics and data here

View the BBC News story here.

 

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