Financial & Legal News

Divorce rate dip but finances need resolving

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Divorce rates are apparently at an all-time low, but Family Law solicitors say there are many reasons for this including no-fault divorce, fewer marriages and of course more separations during the pandemic which skewed figures accordingly.

Divorce Statistics

According to the Office for National Statistics divorces in the UK are at their lowest levels since the 1970s, but it’s not been all roses around the door and marital bliss for the past 50 years.

The latest ONS data records 80,057 divorces for the year 2022, the year no-fault divorce came into effect and down from 113,505 the previous year to the lowest number since 1971.

“Whilst this might on first look to indicate that couples are all happy and contented the truth behind the stats is somewhat different,” says Family Law Solicitor, Lucinda McWatt.

No-Fault Divorce

“No fault divorce marked the biggest change to divorce law in decades as couples no longer need to apportion blame, they can now simply cite the ‘irretrievable breakdown’ of their marriage as a reason for divorcing.

“On average the no fault divorce process takes several months, however it can be longer if the finances still need resolving and under the new system few divorces applied for by couples would appear in the 2022 statistics and so headline figures are not quite what they seem,” she added.

“Coincidentally the ONS statistics recorded the lowest number of marriages in 2020 on record since 1838 so this will of course have an impact on divorce rates.”

Financial Provision

The delays regarding financial provision should not be glossed over as Lucinda sees this as one of the most important elements in separation to get right, of course once children have been covered.

“The right to claim financial provision doesn’t end on divorce and can remain open, clean break orders and pension sharing are something we always discuss with our clients, so it’s not always as open and shut as it appears so it’s important to get good advice given the implications it can have on the finances,” said Lucinda,

Legal Advice Divorce

Legal advice can be sought at any time during the divorce process. Some clients come to Pearson Solicitors before the divorce proceedings are issued and will ask us to represent them in those proceedings. Others come to us when an application has already been issued. However, we always advise potential clients to seek legal advice during the early stages of the divorce process.

“Once the application is issued there is a 20 week stay before the conditional order is pronounced which gives some time for financial disclosure and negotiation to take place. The final order in the divorce (formerly Decree Absolute) that brings your marriage to an end can be applied for 6 weeks and a day after the conditional order,” said Lucinda.

“There may be good reason for the pronouncement of the final order to be delayed. We may need to make an application to oppose the granting of it in the event a spouse will not delay applying for it.

“If you seek legal advice too late in the process your options in this regard may be limited due to the timeframe and you could be left vulnerable. We would also always advise you to seek legal advice if you are contemplating remarriage as you may fall foul of the remarriage trap,” added Lucinda.

How can we help?

If you need legal advice on a divorce or separation or advice on divorce financial settlement contact our specialist Divorce Solicitors on 0161 785 3500 or email

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

Written by Lucinda McWatt


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