Divorce Rates Fell During COVID

Divorce Rates
 Jonathan Pollard
Written by: Alice Williams Legally reviewed by: Jonathan Pollard Updated: In: Family

Divorce Has Fallen Significantly During COVID

New research has found that, despite COVID putting considerable strain on relationships, divorce rates have in fact fallen by 4.5% during the year that COVID hit. This had led to legal experts voicing their concern that the legal system has not yet caught up with the considerable backlog, and that divorce services may soon be under more serious strain.

What Did the Statistics Say?

The figures that were released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that in 2020, divorce rates were down 4.5% compared to 2019 with 103,592 divorces being granted. The ONS commented on this, saying that factors such as family courts being suspended may ‘have affected the number and timeliness of completed divorces.’

Further details of the report showed that the vast majority of divorces that were granted in 2020 were among opposite sex couples, but there was a 40.4% rise for the amount of same sex couples getting a divorce in 2020. For wives seeking divorce from their husbands, unreasonable behaviour was the most common reason – accounting for 47.4% of divorce petitions. For husbands who were seeking a divorce from their wives, the most common reason was a two-year separation followed by unreasonable behaviour.

Data showed that women have been more likely to initiate divorce proceedings against men in England and Wales since 1949 – with 62% of divorces between men and women in 2019 requested by the wife in the marriage.

As the divorce process generally averages out at taking a minimum of six months to finalise, the true extent of these statistics will not be revealed for a while yet. When the true impact hits, it is likely that divorce services will be overrun with an influx of new cases.

What is the Divorce Procedure?

The divorce procedure begins when you file a divorce petition form. You can pay the fees and submit your petition at your local divorce centre. If both parties then agree with the petition, then the divorce can go ahead. This could be before or after informal negotiations. If disputes later occur and can’t be resolved, then your divorce case may go to court.

There are other issues that may need to be considered when going through a divorce, such as child arrangements and property disputes. Sharing the assets of a marriage between a separating couple can become difficult, particularly when deciding what is going to happen to the family home. You may wish to sell the property and divide the profits. If one of you wants to stay in the property, then you will need to find an agreement so the value can be shared equally. If children are involved, then any property dispute will always be resolved in the way that is of the greatest benefit to them. Because of this, one parent may be able to stay in the house until the children turn 18, even if the other parent doesn’t agree.

With the likely influx of divorce cases, it is important to know how legal help can make things move more smoothly for you. Experienced divorce solicitors will be able to guide you throughout the process.

Read more on our divorce solicitors and family law page

Here at AWH, we have a great deal of experience helping people who are going through a divorce. Get in touch for expert help and support.

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