The office of National Statistics have released figures that show that there was one divorce every five minutes during the recession in 2012.
There were 118,140 divorces in 2012, up 0.5 per cent on 2011. Almost half of these couples split in the first 10 years of marriage.
Statisticians at the ONS have suggested that the recession may have caused the rise in the divorce rate. The ONS told the Telegraph: “One theory suggests that recession could contribute to a rise in partnership break-ups because of increased financial strain, changes in employment and related lifestyle changes… In addition some individuals may believe they will get a more favourable divorce settlement if their income is currently low.”
Ruth Sutherland, Chief Executive of Relate, said: “We are saddened by the news that the number of divorces has risen slightly in 2012, especially as they had been in decline for the past few years. However, it’s important to remember that divorce figures only capture part of the picture of our relationship health. For example, we hear anecdotally that more couples are now living together because they can’t afford to separate, and we know that the number of couples in cohabiting relationships has increased. Divorce rates don’t tell us the full story for these couples.”
“What matters to us is the quality of a relationship, rather than status. Ultimately, people’s happiness and wellbeing is of paramount importance and strong couple relationships are proven to be an important part of that.”
However, the rise in divorces during 2012 goes against a general trend of declining divorce numbers over the last decade, which has happened alongside a reduction in the numbers marrying in the first place. The number of divorces in 2012 is still almost a fifth lower than it was a decade earlier.