Marriage research: Divorce cases rose by 9.6% in 2021




Throughout Marriage Week 7th-14th February 2023, Harry Benson, Sorted Columnist and Research Director at the Marriage Foundation shares a series of daily articles about the latest academic research.

Harry writes: Divorces were up by 9.6% in 2021. According to new figures from the Office for National Statistics there was a big rise in divorce in 2021. Some of this is real. But most is a one-off due to lockdown and court delays.

We have seen little to no indication of a big rise in 2021 divorces either from lockdown surveys that look at how much people are thinking about divorce or the Ministry of Justice figures that report divorce applications. We wrote a report on this here.

So does this 9.6% rise suggest a problem with marriages or a problem with the divorce system?

One way of looking at it, is to recognise that almost all changes in divorce rates over the past 40 years have come from divorces granted to wives rather than husbands. This system changed in April 2022 but it gives us a way of seeing if there’s any real change.

If the recent rise is all about the system, we should see fluctuations in the husband divorces in the last few years. And we did. Read my full comment here.

Main photo courtesy of This Morning

Harry Benson

Harry Benson is research director for The Marriage Foundation and author of Commit or Quit: The Two Year Rule and Other Rules for Romance

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