The number of couples divorcing in 2019 increased by almost a fifth, the highest figures in 5 years.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows 107,599 opposite-sex couples divorced in 2019, an increase of 18.4% from 90,871 in 2018. There were also 822 same-sex divorces, nearly twice the number (428) in 2018; almost three-quarters were between female couples.
The recent pandemic is putting increasing pressure on relationships which led to many family lawyers predicting a “post-lockdown divorce boom”. Citizens Advice have reported that internet searches for divorce guidance had risen by 25% since April in comparison to the same period last year.
Our family team certainly experienced a boom with new clients in the summer months and we have remained busy throughout the pandemic.
Until the Autumn of next year when “No-Fault” divorce will be implemented, in order to obtain an immediate divorce either spouse has to allege adultery or unreasonable behaviour. A person can also apply if both parties agree and they have been separated from their spouse for two years. To apply without consent, their spouse must live apart from them for five years. There is also the desertion ground but that too has to be for a period of two years. “Unreasonable Behaviour” represents approximately 40% of all petitions and is the most commonly stated fact.
Although we are expecting the number of divorces to increase in 2020, It is not all doom and gloom, as the 2019 stats are 30% lower when compared to 2003 when there were 153,065 divorce among opposite-sex couple. Changing attitudes to cohabitation, with more couples choosing not to marry is suggested to be the reason for the decline in divorce.
Will there be a post lock down ‘boom’? We think it has already started and will likely continue to happen as couples face being in this situation into 2021.
Taking advice is key. Planning and understanding what the family courts can do when it comes to the arrangements for your children and how your finances are likely to be divided, will give you the platform to progress your separation in a way of your choosing. At IBB we will support your instructions and will guide you through alternative dispute methods, leaving court as a last resort.
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IBB Law’s family law practice can provide expert advice on all family law issues. To contact the family law team please email email@example.com or call 03456 381 381.
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