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New figures reveal divorce and cohabitation trends over last 12 years

Divorce rate increases driven by over 45s

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show the marital status and living arrangements of people aged 16 and over in England and Wales from 2002 to 2014.

They reveal:

Zoe Round, a divorce lawyer at Irwin Mitchell said:

"The rise in older people divorcing has been a trend for the past few years and reflects that fact that divorce is no longer the stigma it once was. In general, attitudes have changed towards relationships and divorce. The older generation have realised that they can separate, often amicably, and still meet new people and lead a more enriched life rather than staying in relationships which may be making them unhappy. Social Media are also helping to open up new ways of finding others and developing new hobbies, interests and partnerships.

"People in their 30s are more likely to be cohabiting than others partly because of attitudes to marriage but also because finances have been squeezed for many during the past 6 years when traditionally they would have been paying for their weddings. What cohabitants need to understand is that there is no such thing as a common law partner and that they may not have the rights they think they do in the event of any separation. 'Living Together Agreements' can help to set some boundaries in relationships. Sorting out break-ups for unmarried couples can be costly because unlike divorce there is no straightforward legal framework to help decide how they may share assets after any potential split."

The figures are here.