A report published by the Marriage Foundation looks set to predict that despite the belief that marriages are more unstable nowadays, divorce rates amongst couples who have been married for more than ten years have remained almost unchanged since the early 60s.
Marital disharmony amongst newly married couples also seems to be falling, according to the report, indicating that divorce rates in Britain could be set to fall to levels not seen for a generation.
The Marriage Foundation, a think tank founded by the High Court judge Sir Paul Coleridge to promote marriage,analysed office divorce figures for England and Wales over the last couple of decades. The author of the report, Harry Benson, argues that the rise in the number of cohabiting couples led to an initial flurry of unstable marriages but that in recent years the trend has been the opposite.
According to the report, the patterns in marriage over recent years indicate that a couple getting married today would be at a 20 per cent risk of getting divorced during the first ten years of their marriage, whilst after the second decade the risk would fall to 13 per cent and then down to just two per cent in subsequent decades.
Harry Benson said: “Once you get to 10 years you are seeing the marriage vows kicking in.
“Recession or age makes no difference to the divorce rate after 10 years.
“Even when you look at all the different types of marriage you see the same pattern repeating all the way through: it makes no difference whether it is a first or second marriage, marriage becomes incredibly consistent once you get to 10 years.
“The biggest message is that marriage is incredibly consistent and predictable once you get to 10 years.
“The first 10 years is when all the potential for change exists, if we could help people to decide how to form stable relationships divorce rates could plummet.”
Mr Benson added: “Divorce rates for today’s couples are beginning to look like those for the couples who got married in the early 70s.
“Divorce rates are going to continue falling – that’s not a very popular view, everyone says that as soon as recession ends they will shoot up.
“But divorce rates have nothing to do with recession or age or marriage rates or whether it is a first or second marriage.
“Rain or shone, boom or bust, better or worse, richer or poorer they are much the same apart from in the first 10 years.”