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Analysis of divorces in England and Wales
A recent bulletin from the Office for National Statistics presents annual statistics on divorces that took place in 2010 following court orders, in England and Wales. The figures show that there were 119,589 divorces in England and Wales in 2010, an increase of 4.9%.
In 2010, of all decrees granted to one partner (rather than jointly to both), 66% were granted to the wife. In over half (55%) of the cases where the divorce was granted to the wife, the husband’s behaviour was the fact proven. Of the divorces granted to the husband, the most common facts proven were the wife’s behaviour (36% of cases) and two years’ separation with consent (32%). Very few decrees (0.1%) were granted jointly to husband and wife.
Half of couples divorcing in 2010 had at least one child aged under 16 living in the family. There were 104,364 children aged under 16 who were in families where the parents divorced in 2010, a decrease of 27% from 2000 when there were 142,457 children. Over a fifth (21%) of the children in 2010 were under five and 64% were under eleven. In 2010 there was an average of 1.76 children aged under 16 per divorcing couple with children under 16. This compares with 1.86 in 2000. These changes may reflect the increasing proportion of children born to cohabiting, rather than married, couples.
The percentage of marriages ending in divorce has generally increased for those marrying between the 1970s and the early 1990s. For example, 22% of marriages in 1970 had ended in divorce by the 15th wedding anniversary, whereas 33% of marriages in 1995 had ended after the same period of time. However, there is some evidence that the proportion of marriages ending in divorce had stopped increasing for couples married in the most recent years.
Alongside the rise in divorces, civil partnership dissolutions also increased in 2010. However this is part of an upward trend given that this type of partnership is relatively new and therefore the numbers of those in civil partnerships is increasing.
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