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Key Facts on Separation

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Here are a few facts and figures on separation over the years:


  • Compared with the decrease in the number of marriages over the last 40 years, the number of divorces has remained relatively stable. (Source: Office for National Statistics (ONS) , 2012)
  • After a sharp increase relating to changes in legislative and regulatory procedure (notably the Divorce reform act 1971), divorce numbers increased gradually from the early 1970s to the early 1990s, but have since returned to their original levels. (Source: ONS, 2012)
  • The proportion of married people who are predicted to divorce before reaching their 50th anniversaries has increased by around a third since 1979, and in 2005 was at just over 45%. (Source: Wilson & Smallwood, 2008)
  • Divorce rates increased by around 10% in 2010 over the previous year, but a decline of 1.7% was observed in 2011. Rates have been in an overall decline since 2003. (Source: ONS, 2012)
  • Most divorce petitions are made by women, with the proportion of women instigating divorce proceedings rising from 60% in 1971 to 66% of in 2011. (Source: ONS, 2012)
  • Women in their late twenties and men in their early thirties had the highest divorce rates in 2011 in England and Wales. (Source: ONS, 2012)
  • On average, people are getting divorced later in life and separate after an average of 11.5 years. (Source: ONS, 2012)
  • Relationship breakdown costs each UK taxpayer £1,470 per year. (Source: Relationships Foundation, 2012)
  • Relationship breakdown costs the state an estimated £44 billion per year in total. (Source: Relationships Foundation, 2012)
Source: OnePlusOne

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