18 February 2011
Divorce Rates Fall as Marriage Hits Record Low
We all hear frequent quotes such as “1 in every 2 marriages end in divorce” and “there is no point getting married as it's more likely to end in divorce than not!”
However, divorce rates are dropping and have fallen consistently for the last 6 years. According to the Office for National Statistics there were 113,949 divorces in England and Wales in 2009. Down a surprising 6.4% from the previous year!
Is this a case of the economic downturn making people delay divorce? Are people working harder at relationships to make them work or is it simply a case of fewer people getting married?
Whilst undoubtedly the first two will have an impact, it does seem as if marriage is quickly loosing it’s appeal with the lowest number of marriages taking place last year since 1895. With marriage rates falling it does add increasing weight to the recent discussions surrounding cohabiting couples and increasing the legislation that protects these people in the event of a relationship breakdown.
As fewer couples are getting marryied we need to develop a system whereby this rapidly growing section of the community can divide their assets and resources upon separation with a greater degree of certainty. Cohabitation Agreements are becoming more popular but still many couples live together without any kind of formal agreement about thier finances or property ownership.
Sadly with only 232,990 marriages taking place last year, it does seem as if the general belief that 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce is not far from the truth. Last years figures suggest this figure is in fact 48.9% of marriages.