The option to cohabit and the increasing age at marriage may be factors
In 2014 there were 111,169 divorces in England and Wales. A decrease of 3.1% from 2013. This was also a decline of 27% from a peak of divorces in 2003.
In 2014 the divorce rate was highest among men aged between 45 and 49 and between women aged between 40 and 44.
In 2014, there were 9.3 men divorcing per thousand married males. This was a decrease of 5.1% compared with 2013 and a fall of 30.6% from a peak in the divorce rate in 2004.
In 2014, there were 9.3 women divorcing per thousand married females, a decrease of 5.1% compared with 2013 and a drop of 29.5% compared with 2004.
The likely factors influencing the divorce rates include increased cohabitation and the increasing age at which couples first marry. Marrying later in life appears to correlate with a higher success rate in respect of the longevity of the marriage.
Previous research indicates a higher risk of divorce among those marrying at younger ages. However, as more couples now choose to cohabit prior to committing to marriage, this appears to reduce the number of weaker relationships progressing to marriage.
The average age of divorcees appears to continue to rise partly because the attitudes of modern society towards divorce have become more relaxed in the past 10-20 years. Most divorcees are now in their 40s. People are recognising that they don’t have to stay in unhappy relationships. Furthermore, with the advent of dating sites many couples are simply unwilling to endure an unhappy relationship in circumstances where there are other options open to them. That said, the first 10 years of marriage remain the most likely time that a divorce will occur, however, if the marriage lasts 20 years such marriages are less likely to end in divorce at all.
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