Wives driven to divorce halves in 30 years

New research from Marriage Foundation has found that divorces granted to wives during the early years of marriage have fallen by half since 1986.

New research from Marriage Foundation has found that divorces granted to wives during the early years of marriage have fallen by half since 1986.

Fewer women filing for divorce accounts for almost all the drop in the overall divorce rate over the past 30 years. The number of men granted divorces has essentially not changed.

In the early years, women are over four times more likely to seek a divorce than men.

Harry Benson, Research Director of Marriage Foundation, attributes the fall in divorces sought by women a more committed group of men choosing to marry.

He commented: “In the past ten years especially the social and family pressure for men to marry has significantly reduced.

“Those men who decide now to marry do so with a greater level of commitment and intention to make the marriage work. The result is happier wives and lower divorce rates.

Sir Paul Coleridge, who founded Marriage Foundation, the think tank dedicated to promoting stronger families, welcomed the fall in women seeking divorce, but expressed concerns about the ever greater numbers of men choosing not to marry.

He commented: “The scale of the decrease in women filing for divorce suggests that men doing better must be a significant factor in explaining the trend.

“However what worries me is that so many fewer couples are marrying now than they were in the 1980s at a time when our largely uncontroversial research has established beyond doubt that married couples have a far greater chance of avoiding family breakdown than cohabiting couples.

“By the age of 16, half of the UK’s children do not live with both their birth parents. But they are eight times more likely to do so if their parents are married.

“Marriage Foundation is not concerned with moral arguments. We look at the research and the facts. Both these and my forty years of experience in the Family Court have shown me how much children who undergo family breakdown suffer and how much greater the chances are of the family staying together if the parents are married.

“The vast majority of young people aspire to get married. What we need now is for far more of them to put their instinctive desire into practice and make the big decision to commit to a stable future.”


Notes to editors:

For media inquiries please contact Beatrice Timpson on 07803 726977.

Harry Benson is available to be interviewed, on 07515 699187.
Marriage Foundation was founded by Sir Paul Coleridge, a High Court Judge, moved by his personal experience in 40 years as a barrister and judge specialising in family law. The Foundation seeks to improve public understanding of marriage reduce the numbers of people drawn into the family justice system – some 500,000 children and adults each year. 

Marriage Foundation has highlighted the crisis of family breakdown. Their research has found that a child born today only has a 50 per cent chance of living with both parents by the time they reach fifteen.

Foundation research has also found that 93 percent of parents who stay together until their child’s fifteenth birthday are married.

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