Statistics for Divorce among same-sex couples
WHO LOVES A (MEANINGLESS?) BATCH OF STATISTICS?
(ANDY SMITH - LAW BLACKS)
Recently the Office for National Statistics has released data on the number of divorces in England and Wales in 2016, the headline being that there was an increase of 5.8% in divorces between opposite-sex couples in 2016 compared to 2015.
The release includes for the first time statistics on divorce for same-sex couples, following the introduction from 13th March 2014 of same-sex marriage, by the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.
Why the wait? You might ask. Well, divorce can only be applied for after one year and a day of marriage, so the first same-sex divorces will have occurred from 14th March 2015 at the earliest.
Only 22 same-sex couples divorced in 2015 and so don’t be overly alarmed at the FOUR HUNDRED PERCENT increase in divorces in 2016 (112) compared to 2015.
Other interesting figures are available, including that 78% of same-sex divorces were between females and the average age at divorce for same-sex couples in 2016 was 40.4 years for men and 38.2 years for women.
Daily Mail headline time: 96% OF SAME-SEX DIVORCES AMONG MEN AND 93% OF DIVORCES AMONG WOMEN WERE BASED ON UNREASONABLE BEHAVIOUR.
All these horrible unreasonable people! Boo Hiss!
Alternative explanation: divorce in a same-sex couple can only be based on four facts:
- Desertion – Difficult to prove in divorce petitions, the desertion would need to be for a period of 2 years. So one married person would have had to disappear without a trace almost immediately after the marriage for the divorce to be completed in 2016 and hence be included in these statistics.
- 5 year separation – impossible. This will only become available in March 2019 at the earliest.
- 2 year separation – not quite impossible, but I would roughly guess that couples will have had to have separated within about 2 months of being married from 13th March 2014 to be able to have their divorce by the end of 2016 and be included in these statistics.
Which only leaves us with…
- Unreasonable Behaviour – and so unsurprising that such high numbers of the 112 divorces in 2016 between same-sex couples were based on Unreasonable Behaviour.
Summary: Don’t panic. As the numbers for same-sex marriages increase, so will the numbers for same-sex divorce.