A report just issued by Sir Paul Coleridge’s Marriage Foundation has concluded that there is no evidence that a recession either increases or decreases divorce rates.
According to divorce figures published by the Office for National Statistics in December 2012, there was a 1.7 per cent fall for the year 2011. Some law firms have greeted this figure with surprise as they had been predicting a rise.
Several law firms have pointed to evidence that many couples in unhappy marriages are putting off their divorce until their assets have risen in value; these law firms now say that they are still expecting a surge in divorce cases once the economic recovery arrives.
However a five per cent increase in divorce cases the previous year also came as a surprise to commentators – the Office for National Statistics responded by saying that it was just too early to say whether a link could be made between divorce and recession.
The report has analysed divorce patterns during recession years and years of strong economic growth and has concluded that there’s no pattern either way. The report has highlighted that divorce rates increased by 5 per cent in 2003 when the economy was upbeat whilst in 1994, a year which had similar economic conditions, divorce rates fell by three per cent.
According to Harry Benson from the Marriage Foundation, the true explanation for variations in divorce rates is more likely to be related to how long couples have been married: “When the next annual figures for divorce are released, commentators can now be confident that changes have nothing to do with the economy or stock market.”