Divorce statistics

In the UK, according to Office for National Statistics, divorce affects nearly one in every two marriages. That is equal to half of all marriages breaking down.

To apply for divorce in the UK a strict legal procedure must be followed, so getting the help of a solicitor is advised.

UK statistics

One interesting statistic is that the most common length of a marriage is just five years. The divorce statistics released in 2007 showed that the number of divorcing couples fell slightly by 0.3 to roughly 12 per 1,000 married population; the lowest level divorce has been since 1981.

The 2007 divorce statistics also tell us that one in every five men and women whose marriage ended in divorce in 2007 had a previous marriage which also ended in divorce. This figure has doubled in the last 27 years.

If you are thinking of getting married and have had a previous marriage that has ended in divorce then you may want to consider speaking to a specialist divorce solicitor about a pre-nuptial agreement.

Pre-nuptials are unromantic but can be a useful tool to those getting remarried especially if they have children from a previous marriage, as an agreement would ensure that your children do not lose out should your new marriage break down.

Additionally, the figures for 2007 also tell us that 68 per cent of all divorces were granted to the wife and that unreasonable behaviour was the most common grounds of divorce used.

How do I get a divorce?

In England and Wales there is a time minimum of one year of marriage before a couple can apply for a divorce. An application is made by way of a petition form, in which an applicant must state the date that he or she was lawfully married and that their marriage has irretrievably broken down - the one sole ground for divorce.

An applicant must prove to the court that the marriage has broken down and this is done by supplying evidence on one of the five following facts:

  • Your spouse has behaved in such an unreasonable manner that you should not be reasonably expected to live with them any longer
  • Your spouse has deserted you for a period of two years
  • Your spouse has committed adultery
  • You and your spouse have separate for two continuous years and you both consent to divorce
  • You and your spouse have been separated for five continuous years

If you are thinking about divorce then it is advisable that you gain some advice from a solicitor before proceeding with your petition. A solicitor will be able to explain the law to you and ensure you are prepared for the process and this will put you in the best position in moving forward.

For more information on how to file for divorce, see our page on divorce forms.

Call us for free on 0800 533 5787 or use the web-form to the right to speak to an advisor who can put you in touch with the right solicitor for your needs.

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