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The UK Divorce index

05 Jan 2022

It has been almost two years since Covid-19 first led to a series of lockdowns, regulations and changes which have altered many aspects of people’s lives. Many have moved cities, changed jobs and even met their life partners as the UK moved in and out of lockdown and the various tier systems we have faced.

As couples were left isolated together with a loss of social activities and facing the pressures of homeschooling and working from home, many reflected on their time alone with their partner. For some, this meant coming to a decision to part ways with their partner and pursue a different path. In fact, our research earlier this year found that searches for “I want a divorce” rose by 154% in the first lockdown.

With this in mind, we were interested in finding out where in the UK saw the highest spike in divorce enquiries during the pandemic and how the country is likely to be impacted by Divorce Day in January 2022.

Where are we seeing a demand for divorce in the UK?

We analysed traffic to our divorce advice pages, by calculating traffic per 100,000 people, to identify where in the country individuals were looking to divorce their partners over the period of March 2020 – November 2021.

According to the data, the city where individuals are most interested in a divorce is Nottingham where we saw 103 visits per 100,000 people. This is followed by Birmingham, with a population of over 1.1 million, which had the second highest visits at 43 visits per 100,000 people.

Cities with the highest demand for divorce during the pandemic

1 Nottingham
2 Birmingham
3 Derby
4 Norwich
5 Newcastle upon Tyne
6 Northampton
7 Manchester
8 Plymouth
9 Cardiff
10 Bristol
11 Leeds
12 London
13 Coventry
14 Sheffield
15 Luton

When is Divorce day 2022?

Divorce day is the first working Monday of January, which typically sees a spike in divorces as the reality of returning to work sets in for couples as they face post-Christmas blues.When is Divorce day 2022

We saw a 66.7% increase in traffic to our divorce advice page on Divorce Day in 2021 compared to 2020. We are predicting this trend to continue in 2022 as couples deal with the stress of the Christmas period and the ongoing worry and pressure of the pandemic and potential restrictions.

Gita Duggal, consultant family solicitor at Richard Nelson LLP commented:

“We saw visits to our divorce advice page increase by two-thirds on Divorce day last year and we are expecting this trend to continue this year. The Christmas period can be an incredibly stressful time for couples as they spend time with each other’s families, compounded by worries around finances and buying presents, and also the ongoing stress of the pandemic.

“Quite often, couples will stay together during the Christmas season and then file for divorce in the New Year. Some couples prefer to wait until January to ensure their children can have a good Christmas, as it becomes apparent that they are no longer suited to one another. As Covid-19 continues to be a worry for couples and restrictions tighten, we are predicting a spike in divorce enquiries in Spring 2022.”

Introduction of the ‘no-fault divorce’ law 

We are also expecting to see an uptick in divorce rates as the ‘no-fault divorce’ comes into play in April 2022. Currently, couples have to satisfy one of the five grounds for divorce in order to apply for their separation; this new option will allow couples to part ways with mutual consent.

Under this new legislation, couples will not have to prove one of the five grounds for divorce (adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, separation for two years, or separation for five years), and can instead focus on divorcing without the additional stress and cost which the previous divorce application has sometimes caused.

For couples across the UK who are considering the divorce process, we are hoping this will be a relief during the difficult time. If you are looking to speak to one of our family and divorce lawyers today, contact our specialist team for a free call back in strict confidence.

Written by Gita Duggal

Gita Duggal is a consultant solicitor for Richard Nelson LLP. She qualified in 2011 and has extensive experience working in family law. Her areas of expertise include divorce, financial matters, children matters and representation in Court.Read more about Gita Duggal.

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