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Divorce rate rises for the first time since 2003

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Statistics released by the Office for Nationals Statistics show that in 2010 the number of divorces in England and Wales in 2010 was 119,589. This is an increase of 4.9 per cent since 2009, when there were 113,949 divorces.

The most common cause given in divorce proceedings was 'unreasonable behaviour.'

This constitutes the first rise in divorce numbers since 2003. In that year there were 152,923 divorces but since there has been a steady decline.

In 2010 the divorce rate rose to 11.1 divorcing people per thousand married population, compared with 10.5 in 2009. 

22 per cent of marriages in 1970 had ended in divorce by the 15th wedding anniversary, whereas 33 per cent of marriages in 1995 had ended after the same period of time.

The ONS report reads: "[The results] could be consistent with the theory recession is associated with an increased risk in divorce, but with a delayed impact."

Daniel Prince, partner and head of family law at Pearson Hinchliffe, commented:

“As a family law practitioner, it appears the recession in 2008 put additional strain on many relationships with couples arguing about finances and worrying about job security.

“With many unable to afford to separate, we’re perhaps only now beginning to see a rise in the number of divorces that are a consequence of the tough economic climate.

“It is no surprise then that the divorce rate has risen and with an economic recovery unlikely to materialise in the near future this trend looks set to continue.”

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