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The continuing fall in the divorce rate


Published: 5th September 2007 - Category: Bastow Blogs - Author: Lynne Bastow

I have been so busy that I have not had time to post on this blog, or do my knitting! I was therefore very surprised to hear that the divorce rate has reduced again.

The following article in THE TIMES attributes it to:

  1. Younger people having been through the pain of their parent’s divorce and not wanting to inflict similar torment on their own children.
  2. People getting married older and therefore being more sensible and mature about it (bit odd that analysis given that the only increase in divorce rates was in men over 60).
  3. The increase in cohabitation.

Less people are getting married, but given that the average marriage lasts 11 years it will be a decade before this filters into the figures. One needs to consider the number of marriages related to the size of the marriageable population extrapolated over time to compute whether marriage is a declining institution. Only then can we calculate whether divorce is also in decline.

There was a baby boom in the sixties and the average age for divorce is 40 plus. One would expect the divorce rate to increase based upon the population explosion – instead it has fallen. One needs to know how many of these baby boomers remain married, choose cohabitation or a life on their own.

There is a housing crisis partly because there are an increasing number of people living alone. There is a population decline because an increasing number of women are choosing not to have children. An increasing number of people are leaving this country to live abroad, no doubt getting divorced abroad as well. There is an increasing immigrant population from countries where religion is more widespread and the consequent disapproval to marriage breakdown.

We have enjoyed 10 years of relative prosperity. Now this country owes more in personal debt (mortgage borrowing, credit cards personal loans) then the total Gross Domestic Product. There is an increase in insolvency and personal bankruptcy and the numbers of houses being repossessed has reached record levels, but not the headlines – due to the lack of negative equity. Poverty and divorce often go hand in hand. If interest rates rise and the economy continues to worsen I predict that the divorce rate will rise accordingly.

Lynne Bastow - Divorce Solicitor

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