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Divorce figures at their lowest for more than 30 years

The number of people getting divorced in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest level for 35 years

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that there were 113,949 divorces in 2009 compared with 121,708 in 2008 - a fall of 6.4%. It’s the lowest number since 1974.

The divorce figures peaked at 153,065 in 2003 and have fallen gradually every year since.

The divorce rate in England and Wales is also falling and is now at its lowest since 1977. Out of every 1,000 married people, 10.5 got divorced in 2009. That was the lowest since 1977 when the rate was 10.3 per thousand.

In 67% of cases in 2009, it was the wife who was granted the divorce. Issues related to behaviour were the most common reasons given for the breakdown of marriages.

There are thought to be many reasons for the reduced figures. Fewer people are getting married in the first place which in turn will have an effect on the divorce rate.

It is also possible that the recession has played a part as many couples have found they cannot afford to separate and have put off painful decisions until later.

If that is the case then there could possibly an increase in the divorce figures over the next few years.

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