Divorce rate falls: delve deeper for the true picture

Stock Image Divorce
Stock Image Divorce

In the past few weeks, many recognised news outlets have commented that the heterosexual divorce rate has hit a 45-year low, writes Jonathan Corbishley.

For those readers who scan the headlines but don’t delve deeper into the story it is a headline, which paints a rosy picture of happy families, but as is often the case with statistics they have to be examined further to find real credibility.

So for readers old enough to recall 1973, when glam rock ruled the airwaves and Ted Heath was Prime Minister, there are very few who don’t realise how marriage’s place in society has changed radically.

In 2015, the last year for which there is full data, marriage hit an all-time low in this country.

So, recent statistics showing a six per cent divorce decrease from 2016, according to data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), need to be viewed in the context of modern life.

What is especially noteworthy is that the latest statistics show that divorce rates between same-sex couples have surged, increasing more than threefold in a year.

Same sex marriage, of course, has only recently been legalised and for couples taking up this commitment the trend is showing that staying together is as tough as ever.

However, more liberal attitudes mean that the attitude to marriage and also divorce have changed hugely in recent times.

All couples who live together, be it a man and woman or same sex partners need a legal framework to help them.

The law can do this, but for those who have not made a commitment like marriage or a civil partnership their future can be jeopardised if they should split up. That is why seeing a lawyer is a sensible option.

The law is often there as a form of insurance, but using it wisely gives huge peace of mind for all those involved.

• Jonathan Corbishley is a legal expert at Derbyshire Family Law Group.