Resolution: response to ONS divorce statistics in England and Wales, 2012

News Release

06 Feb 2014

Speaking in response to today’s divorce figures from ONS, Liz Edwards, Chair of Resolution, the family law membership body, said:

"It’s disappointing to see the divorce rates rising, and we suspect there are a range of reasons why this has happened.

"What’s interesting is looking beyond the headline figures, the vast majority of divorce petitions still involve one party assigning blame to the other – either in the form of adultery or unreasonable behaviour.

"Resolution members see people day in, day out, who have mutually agreed to separate, but because of the divorce laws we currently have, are forced to apportion blame in the divorce petition. This is unhelpful, and often makes conflict and confrontation part and parcel of the divorce process.

"Our members believe separation and divorce should be as non-confrontational as possible, and where marriage has failed, couples should be able to bring it to an end with the minimum distress and conflict. Where there are children, their welfare should be the top priority.

"Resolution wants to see the law change to remove the need to assign blame if a marriage breaks down. This would not make divorce easier, but would recognise the fact that divorce is a sad fact of life for some people – to the tune of nearly a quarter of a million in 2012. They - and crucially, any children they may have - should be able to move forwards with their lives with as little distress as possible."


Notes to editors:

1. Resolution is a group of over 6,500 family law professionals in England and Wales. It promotes a non-confrontational, constructive approach to resolving family disputes. To find out more, visit

2. The ONS divorce stats can be found here:

3. There were 118,140 divorces in England and Wales in 2012, meaning 236,280 people got divorced.

4. The main reasons given for divorce in 2012 were Adultery (Alleged by 14% of husbands and 14% of wives); and Behaviour (37% of husbands and 54% of wives) - giving a total percentage of 59% of divorcing people assigning blame to the other party in the divorce petition.