‘Over 40% of marriages of heterosexual couples now end in divorce’

With marriages of the opposite-sex lower than ever, still 42% of couples that get married end up divorcing, a study shows[1]. In 2015, 101,055 of 239,020 marriages in UK ended in a divorce. These figures from 2015, are triple the amount of that in 1970, where only 14% ended in divorce. This is despite there being nearly 180,000 more marriages in 1970, and marriages in 2015 being at there lowest ever.

Divorce and Marriage 1

Divorce and Marriage 2

In 1969, the Divorce Reform Act was introduced and came into effect in 1971 which is one factor behind this dramatic increase in divorces over the years. This Act simply changed the way a divorce worked and was processed. It now meant that when wanting a divorce, you no longer have to prove who was the problem in the relationship and who caused the breakdown and why; prior to what had to be done before 1969[2]. It is now nearly 50 years on since this Act was enforced and it is clear it has had an impact.

Despite the introduction of the Divorce Reform Act, over the last few years, there has finally been some stability brought back in the rate of divorces dramatically increasing. In 2000, approximately 52.67%[3] of marriages ended in divorce. However, the average divorce rates has since declined over the last 15 years, with 2017 being the lowest thus far in the 21st century.

Divorce and Marriage 3

There has also been a huge change of attitude towards divorces since the impact of the Divorce Reform Act. Prior to this act, divorce was rare as apart from it being expensive, there has been changes in attitudes towards divorce in general. According to an article by the Daily Mail, research demonstrated that ‘nearly two thirds of people now do not think there is a stigma attached to ending a marriage as attitudes are more relaxed’.[4] Some argue it is now too easy[5] to get a divorce meaning some couples make that decision too simply rather than attempting to work through the issues like most couples did prior to the Divorce Reform Act.

The Divorce Reform Act isn’t the only influence that may have a correlation with the amount of divorces there are.

Age is also a factor that affects the number of divorces, especially the age that men tend to get divorced compared to women. Highlighted in the graph below, men have a habit of getting divorced at a later age with women often getting divorces while they are considered young.

Divorce and Marriage 4

It shows the number of divorces and the age that the men and women were. If the average is worked out, for men, the average age in 2017 for was 46.4 years and 43.9 years for women.[6] This correlates with the number of divorces as 53% of couples had divorced by their 30th anniversary if they were less than 20 when they married and 23% had divorced by the same anniversary if they were aged 30 to 34 when they were married. But, only 7% had divorced if they were aged 45 to 49 when they married, a study showed.[7]

The new statistics may not come as a shock to some, after back in 2010 marriage rates were down to their lowest ever, with over half of marriages ending in divorce. Nevertheless, there are less marriages than ever and with the rate of divorce still being over 40%, these statistics are potentially starting to put people off getting married.

[1] https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/divorce/bulletins/divorcesinenglandandwales/2017

[2] https://www.slatergordon.co.uk/media-centre/blog/2016/02/45-years-of-the-divorce-reform-act/

[3] https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/divorce/bulletins/divorcesinenglandandwales/2017

[4] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2336482/Divorce-longer-social-taboo-Britain-thirds-say-collapse-marriage-stigma-attached.html

[5] http://www.rsrevision.com/GCSE/christian_perspectives/relationships/divorce/law.htm

[6] https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/divorce/bulletins/divorcesinenglandandwales/2017

[7] https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160106011951/http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/divorces-in-england-and-wales/2011/sty-what-percentage-of-marriages-end-in-divorce.html

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s