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British divorce rates highest in Europe

A study, published recently by Eurostat, the EU statistical office, showed that Finland and Britain have the highest divorce rates in Europe.
In Britain, there are 2.8 divorces per 1,000 people, in comparison to only 1.8 divorces per 1,000 people across the rest of Europe, and only 0.6 divorces per 1,000 people in Luxembourg.
However, when you review the statistics for Great Britain over a long period, divorce is actually decreasing. In 2012, divorce levels were actually lower than those recorded in 1975, although levels have increased since 2011.
Interestingly, the average age of divorcees in 2012 were women aged 40 to 44 years old. This average age has increased by nearly 10 years from 33 years old for women back in 1950.
On average, marriages that ended in divorce in 1985 lasted less than 9 years, but this period has increased to nearly 11.5 years.
Whilst the statistics show a decline in divorce, this does correlate with a decline in marriages too. Marriage numbers have fallen to about 250,000 in 2012, from a peak of about 475,000 in 1942, and have been in consistent decline since the early 1970s.
In addition, more couples are choosing to cohabit rather than marry, and this is supported by the number of children born outside of marriage, which in the UK is nearly 40 per cent, compared to only four per cent in Greece and a Europe wide average of 26 per cent.
It will be interesting to see what impact same-sex marriage has on marriage rates and divorce rates as time goes on.
If you need help or advice about a divorce, give us a call on 01302 320621. If you are concerned about the cost now that the government has withdrawn Legal Aid, there are a range of finance options available, including fixed fees, payment plans and our newly launched DIY Divorce package – our experienced family lawyers will give you all the professional advice you need.

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