12 years of trends on cohabitation and divorce


Amanda Crowe Cropped

The Office of National Statistics has released new statistics showing the trends in the marital status and living arrangements of people aged 16 and over in England and Wales from 2002 to 2014.

The information shows that there has been an ongoing rise in the number of divorces of people in their 50s and 60s. This could be due to the fact that divorce no longer has the same stigma attached to it and therefore it’s more acceptable to get divorced rather than stay in an unhappy marriage.

There are also more 30-34 year olds who only live together and are not married. Given the financial crisis in 2008 and the steady rebuild the country has gone through, a large number of people in this age group possibly cannot afford the cost of their dream wedding.

The figures also show that:

  • More women (18.9%) than men (9.8%) are not living in a couple as they have been previously married or civil partnered. This is also due to larger numbers of older widowed women than men in England and Wales in 2014.
  • In 2014, 51.5% of people aged 16 and over in England and Wales were married or civil partnered while 33.9% were single, never married.
  • Between 2002 and 2014 the proportions of people aged 16 and over who were single or divorced increased but the proportions who were married or widowed decreased.
  • The increase between 2002 and 2014 in the percentage of the population who were divorced was driven by those aged 45 and over, with the largest percentages divorced at ages 50 to 64 in 2014.
  • In 2014 around one in eight adults in England and Wales were living in a couple but not currently married or civil partnered, with cohabitation being the most common in the 30 to 34 age group.

It’s important to note that the process in dealing with a couple divorcing compared to an unmarried couple who are separating is very different. There is no such thing in law as a ‘Common Law Spouse’ and, as such, anyone who is going through a separation should seek legal advice on their position and rights.

If you need advice, our friendly and experienced family solicitors are on hand to help. Call the team on 01473 611211 or email bg@barkergotelee.co.uk