Men behaving better leads to a fall in divorces as number of women seeking a split halves compared with their mothers’ generation
- Official figures show only 62,712 women sought divorce in 2017 v 118,401 in 1993
- Divorce rates are at their lowest since law passed in 1969 made it easier to split
- Number of husbands petitioning for separation has also decreased to 38,957
The number of women divorcing their husbands has dropped to its lowest level in a generation, new figures reveal.
There were a total of 62,712 women who filed for divorce in the UK in 2017, compared with 118,401 in 1993.
Overall divorce rates in Britain are at their lowest in a generation since laws were changed in 1969 to make it easier for couples to split.
Experts suggest the drop in women seeking separations is down to an improvement in their husband’s behaviour.
New figures reveal there were a total of 62,712 women who filed for divorce in the UK in 2017, compared with 118,401 in 1993. File image used
Speaking to the Sunday Times ahead of Valentine’s Day this Thursday, Harry Benson, research director for the Marriage Foundation, said: ‘At a time when men’s past bad behaviour towards women is being challenged, and quite rightly, we are now seeing clear evidence that men’s behaviour in their marriages at least has improved substantially over the past 25 years.’
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, the number of husbands seeking divorce has also dropped.
It was reported last year that the number of couples divorcing within three years of marriage was at its lowest for 30 years, with relationship experts claiming men are taking on a greater share of their marital duties.
The figures come amid Government plans to relax divorce laws so that couples can get a separation without citing adultery or unreasonable behaviour as a reason.
Critics have branded it a ‘divorce-on-demand’ law and say it will do nothing to ease quarrels over money and property that leads to ‘bad feeling’ when married couples split.
Overall divorce rates in Britain are at their lowest in a generation since laws were changed in 1969 to make it easier for couples to split. Experts claim it is because married men are behaving better. File image used
Lady Deech, a former chief of the barristers’ regulator the Bar Standards Board and one of the country’s top family lawyers, is the first senior legal figure to challenge the reforms, which have won the backing of Justice Secretary, David Gauke.
One of the country’s top family lawyers Baroness Deech (pictured) has condemned plans for a new ‘divorce-on-demand’ law
The reforms would abolish the role of adultery or unreasonable behaviour as grounds for divorce and would instead allow any husband or wife simply to ask for divorce.
The marriage would be over automatically six months later, even if one of the couple opposed divorce.
Lady Deech said the changes would not protect children from the damage caused to them by divorce – one of the main reasons cited by ministers for supporting reform.
She said: ‘It is a pity that the Government is throwing its weight behind what is arguably the least urgent and smallest reform that needs to be made to family law.
‘The divorce proposal as it stands would give us the quickest and harshest law that I have come across.’
Ministers have admitted in consultation papers that their new reforms are likely to result in at least a temporary increase in divorce and may provoke a long-term rise.