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Divorces granted to wives has nearly halved since 1993

The Marriage Foundation recently commissioned new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to discover the number of divorces in England and Wales, the duration of the marriages, and whether the divorce was granted to the husband or wife.

In 2017, there were 55,689 fewer divorces granted to wives compared with the peak year of 1993; a 47 per cent drop from 118,401 to 62,712. According to the recent report from The Marriage Foundation, there was only a 15 per cent fall in divorces granted to husbands (from 46,271 to 38,957) during the same period.

Divorces granted by previous marital status

The ONS data was broken down into three main categories to determine the difference in divorce figures when marital status before marriage was considered:

  1. Single
  2. Divorced
  3. Widowed

Previously Single Marital Status

During 2017, the research revealed 23,329 first-time husbands who filed for divorce were divorcing a woman who had also never been married before. This was a drop of more than 6,000 from 2012 when 29,721 divorces were granted to the husband. Although a higher figure, similar findings were found for previously single women. 37,217 wives were granted a divorce where both parties were in their first marriage in 2017; a fall of over 16,000 in just five years (53,930 were filed in 2012).

Previously Divorced Marital Status

3,417 men filed for divorce from a woman who had been married before; a small drop on the 3,767 recorded in 2012. Those previously single women who applied for divorce from a husband who had been married more than once fell 1,612 compared with 2012’s figures (from 7,366 to 5,754).

Previously Widowed Marital Status

The number of men granted a divorce where the woman had been previously widowed fell from 114 to 90 in five years. This compares with 96 that were granted to a first-time wife from their previously widowed husbands in 2017, 30 petitions less than half a decade ago.

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