It caught my eye in an article on the BBC website that there seems to be a generally accepted idea that the divorce rate is on the increase, without any in depth consideration of what factors might influence the numbers.
I think it should be noted that on the pure numbers the rates are down about 20,000 from the year 2000. The number of divorces peaked at 165,000 in 1993, standing at 120,000 in 2010. However the marriage rate is also very different. in 1993 there were 300,000 marriages whereas that number is 230,000 for 2009 (the last year that stats are available). 1993 marked a period of recovery after a recession, if this trend is followed then the divorce rate might peak after the current recession is over. In my practice I have noted over the last 2 years that I see an increased number of people who can't afford to get divorced and divide their finances. There being no equity in the couple's property, insufficient income to spend on solicitors fees and a general feeling that "its not the right time" seems to me to be more prevalent than in previous years. These couple's choose to wait and see, rather than take any action.
The divorce rates have risen steadily since 1973 when the current divorce law was introduced, prior to then the numbers never reached 100,000 per annum. Since then the number of divorces haven't been lower than 100,000.
It is entirely possible that after consistent decreases in divorce numbers from 2003 to 2009, the slight increase in 2010 might be reflective of people holding back on the decree absolute pronouncements from the previous year as a result of delays in Civil service pension calculations which were suspended for a period.
In recent years, financial awards in England and Wales seem to be more favourable than perhaps in other European countries and this might contribute to slightly increased figures as people shop around for a jurisdiction where a financial settlement might be more favourable.
If you have any thoughts please feel free to share them with me by using the comment section.