Divorce rate nears 10%

17 March 2023

New statistics have revealed that 9.1% of over 16s have divorced from their husband or wife. How does your town or city fare against the national average?

Norwich has the highest divorce rate compared to any other area in the UK, with a 12.8% rate, followed by Hastings and Blackpool both on 12.1%.

Meanwhile, 37.9% of UK residents have never married or been in a civil partnership – an increase from 26.3% in 1991 - and 46.9% are currently married or in a civil partnership, a decrease from 58.4% in 1991.

Higgs LLP’s leading family law expert believes those people who are divorcing are completing the process in a more amicable way than in previous years.

This has been assisted by changes to legislation, including the introduction of no-fault divorce, and the opportunity for a couple to use one lawyer in the divorce process rather than the traditional route of each having legal representation.

Philip Barnsley, Head of Family at leading law firm Higgs LLP, said: “The general trend around divorces is for them to be on the rise, and that is usually a pattern which emerges in a challenging economic climate.

“What we are also seeing in increasing numbers is that those people who are getting divorced are keen to do so in a more amicable way.

“There are a number of reasons for that. People are getting married at an older age and are consequently getting divorced when they are older."

Philip Barnsley

Head of Family Law, Higgs LLP

“In the vast majority of cases, people who are getting divorced in their 50s or 60s are able to take a more considered and reasoned approach to their marriage ending compared to people in their 30s who may be a little more impulsive.

“The introduction of no-fault divorce last year has also been hugely important in creating an amicable and collaborative approach to divorce.

“It has completely removed the need for blame to be apportioned for adultery or other unreasonable behaviour when a relationship breaks down and separating couples have responded well to these changes.”

Philip believes the changes in approach to divorce are being reflected in new methods being offered by law firms.

He added: “People are aware that long and protracted legal battles are expensive in every way.

“They are certainly expensive from a financial point of view, expensive from a physical and mental health stance and, most importantly, expensive in relationships, both in terms of the couple who are divorcing and any children who may be involved.

“We have launched a new service at Higgs called Separate Together which allows a couple to divorce using the same lawyer and that is proving extremely popular, with couples saving well in excess of 50 per cent of the cost they would incur for instructing two lawyers.

“For anyone looking for a swift, amicable and cost effective divorce, this is an extremely innovative, flexible and appealing approach which has worked well in some other European countries previously and we are confident can do so here.”

Three reasons to use share on lawyer when separating:

  • Cost - It is naturally more cost-effective to instruct one solicitor rather than two.
  • Developing a bespoke solution - Your solicitor will help secure a solution that’s most effective for you and your partner.
  • Ongoing relationships - Working together to develop the best solution during separation can help to encourage an amicable relationship in the future, especially where children are involved.

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