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Our reflections on the latest national divorce statistics for England and Wales
February 29, 2024

Here at OnePlusOne, we've taken a moment to reflect on the latest divorce statistics published by the Office for National Statistics, which revealed a significant decrease in divorce and dissolution rates in England and Wales for 2022. We acknowledge the changes with optimism and think that it feels like a positive step in the world of relationships.

The 2022 data shows a 29.5% decrease in divorce compared to the previous year, marking the lowest number since 1971, and a substantial reduction in civil partnership dissolutions, the lowest record since 2010.  

These changes come in the wake of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act, implemented on 6 April 2022, which introduced ‘no-fault divorce’, mandatory waiting periods and joint applications, indicating a shift towards a more reflective process for couples contemplating separation. This legislative reform, alongside the decrease in divorces and dissolutions, may reflect an evolving societal approach to handling relationship breakdowns more thoughtfully and collaboratively.  

Reflecting on the broader context, our Senior Research Lead, Dr Shannon Hirst, says:

Shannon Hirst headshot.

“Over the past six to seven years, we’ve observed a significant increase in both government funding and public attention towards relationship health. This enhanced support, especially for parents via local authorities, alongside growing awareness of the importance of nurturing relationships, may be encouraging people to work on their relationships and could be pivotal in driving the downward trend in divorce rates.  

“While it is challenging to establish a direct causal link, the correlation with a societal shift towards more open discussion around relationships and an increase in government funding targeted at supporting parents with their relationship is clear.

“It is an encouraging sign that more people are committing to work on their relationships, mindful of the impact stresses can have.”

Our CEO, Verity Glasgow, comments on the data with a forward-looking perspective:

Verity Glasgow headshot.

“This year's statistics present an encouraging sign of change in the dynamics of relationships and separation. The introduction of new legal frameworks encourages couples to consider more collaborative and less confrontational pathways towards relationship resolution, and the introduction of no-fault divorce lessens blame and accusations during separation. This shift not only supports the mental health of adults involved but also lays a foundation for future co-parenting and improves the mental health of any children involved. It's a reminder of the importance of maintaining healthy communication, emotional readiness, and mutual respect in relationships even during and after separation.  

“At OnePlusOne, we see this as a positive development and an opportunity to reinforce the significance of investing in relationship health and resilience from the outset. By developing an environment where relationships can thrive on understanding and support, we aim to improve the wellbeing of families and ensure that children grow up in a healthy, supportive environment.”

In response to these evolving needs, we are excited to reaffirm the launch our mobile app, Separating better, set to launch nationally this spring. Designed as a free resource, the app aims to support separating parents in managing their transition with a focus on positive co-parenting and the wellbeing of children. By providing practical advice, tools, and emotional support, Separating better seeks to facilitate respectful communication and constructive separation processes, reflecting our ongoing dedication to enhancing family dynamics and relationship health during challenging times.  

The decrease in divorce and dissolution rates, coupled with the introduction of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act, marks a pivotal moment for relationship support services in England and Wales.