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Divorce Statistics No Surprise For Family Law Experts

Lawyers Say Money Woes And Young Love May Account For Increase In Divorce


FAMILY law experts have revealed a number of key factors including money problems, marrying too young and so called ‘empty nest syndrome’ which they say may account for divorce statistics released by the Office for National Statistics today.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of divorces in England and Wales during 2010 increased a staggering 4.9% from 2009, to 119,589 divorces, meaning more than 11 people in every 1,000 of the married population got divorced.

The ONS also compared divorce rates across different age groups and genders. The late 20’s age group showed the highest rate of divorce for women, while men in their early 30’s had a higher divorce rate than men in other age groups.

Surprisingly, the figures showed that a fifth of men and women who divorced in 2010 had their previous marriage end in divorce.

Nicola Walker, a solicitor and partner in Irwin Mitchell’s family law team in Birmingham, said: “We are seeing a lot of divorces that seem to have been triggered by financial issues. As we all know, thousands of businesses have gone under and many people have lost their jobs.

“This can have knock-on effect for families: perhaps children have to be taken out of private schools, or couples struggle to sell their house, which all places stress on a marriage.

“People tend to get divorced at certain crisis points. Those who get married when they are very young can realise they have grown apart. Sometimes, sadly, the arrival of children causes a marriage to break down. Both of these factors could explain the higher divorce rate for men in their early 30’s and women in their late 20’s.

“For other couples, problems arise when one partner wants children and another doesn’t. Historically, it was always assumed a married couple would have children, so this is a relatively new issue. Most discuss the issue before getting married, but those who don’t want children initially can change their minds. They start to wonder if there is more to life than just being good at their jobs.

"Contrary to popular belief, I see more professional women getting divorced because they don’t want children, and their husband has decided he does, than vice versa.

“It sounds a cliché, but the other crisis point tends to be in the late 40’s and early 50’s, when children leave home and couples who find themselves with an ‘empty nest’ reassess their lives together.

“Second divorces tend to be very quick and straightforward affairs compared to those where people are getting divorced for the first time after many years together. People are often slightly traumatised from their first divorce, so they do what they can to keep it simple the second time around.”