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Divorce Statistics decrease in comparison to previous years

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The Office for National Statistics released its yearly divorce statistics for 2020 on 2nd February 2022. These have demonstrated that the total number of divorces in 2020 decreased by 4.5% in comparison with those of 2019. The 2020 statistics show that 103,592 divorces were granted in England and Wales.

It has been reported previously by the Ministry of Justice that COVID-19 had a substantial affect on the family court activities, potentially impacting the number of divorces that reached completion, however it remains difficult to determine to what extent the pandemic had an effect on these divorce figures.

Statistics further revealed that there were 1,154 divorces among same-sex couples in 2020, increasing by 40.4% from 2019. Unreasonable behaviour was the most common reason for divorce in 2020 for same sex couples; 55.2% of female divorces and 57.0% of male divorces.

Similarly, unreasonable behaviour was the most common reason found within divorce petitions among opposite-sex couples; accounting for 47.4% of petitions. For husbands, a two-year separation was the most common reason, accounting for 34.7% of divorces. This was followed by unreasonable behaviour which made up 33.8% of divorces.

Moreover, the ONS found that the longevity of an opposite-sex marriage decreased in 2020 to an average of 11.9 years, whereas in 2019 it was reported at 12.4. For same-sex divorces, the average duration of marriage was 4.7 years for female couples and 5.4 years for male couples; following the introduction of same-sex marriages in March 2014, divorces among same-sex couples have only been possible since 2015.