UK Divorce Hotspots Revealed

We’re living in a time of uncertainty. Lockdown has given many of us the chance to consider what we do and don’t want out of life, and life changing decisions have been made. For some that means filing for divorce and making a fresh start.

To gain an accurate insight into divorce pre-lockdown and beyond we analysed the search volume for ‘divorce’ across the UK from 1st September 2019 to 1st September 2020. This uncovered the country’s divorce hotpots where residents are looking for ways to end their marriages.

We also analysed searches for divorce-related terms during lockdown, uncovering the top cities seeking divorces and the surprising fall of divorce Google searches.


Divorce in The UK

Here’s a brief overview of Beecham Peacock’s findings and the state of divorce in the UK.

  • Birkenhead is the UK’s divorce hotspot (2019-2020)
  • Residents in Glasgow have been searching for ‘divorce’ the most in lockdown (March – July 2020)
  • Searches for divorced-related terms online fell dramatically during lockdown (March – July 2020)
  • Searches for ‘how to file for a divorce UK’ fell by 55.17% during lockdown
  • Searches for ‘how to get a divorce’ fell 18.5% during lockdown
  • Divorcing couples were married for an average of 12.5 years 
  • 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce
  • 60% of opposite-sex marriages end before the 20th wedding anniversary
  • The shortest UK marriage is 90 minutes in 2004
  • The most common ground for divorce is unreasonable behaviour for same-sex and opposite -sex couples.
  • 62% of divorces between opposite-sex couples are initiated by the wife


The UK’s Divorce Hotspots

Our research shows that the UK divorce hotspots for divorce are: 

  1. Birkenhead
  2. Birmingham
  3. Bradford
  4. Glasgow
  5. Manchester
  6. Ilford
  7. Belfast
  8. Leeds & London
  9. Leicester, Plymouth, Hull & Liverpool
  10. Bristol & Portsmouth

Birkenhead was named as the number one for divorced in the UK, with its residents searching Google the most for more information on divorce. Birmingham and Bradford came in at 2nd and 3rd place.


Purple map of divorce hotspots for UK


Divorce in Lockdown

New research from Beecham Peacock has found that searches for ‘divorce’ during lockdown, 16th March 2020 to 4th July 2020, when public houses and the high street re-opened, were the highest in the below cities.


UK Divorce Hotspots Revealed


The study also revealed that searches for divorce-related terms online dramatically reduced during lockdown.

We analysed the below Google searches in the UK:

  • How to get a divorce
  • How to file for a divorce UK
  • Divorce application

‘How to get a divorce’ and ‘how to file for a divorce UK’ fell substantially, whereas ‘divorce application’ fell but then recovered over time.

  • How to get a divorce – 18.5% fall
  • How to file for a divorce UK –55.17% fall
  • Divorce application – 0% change once it recovered


UK Divorce Hotspots Revealed


What’s Causing the Decline in Divorce Searches?

It may be that with a lockdown in place many people felt uncomfortable filing for divorce while things were so uncertain, and they were potentially still living with their ex. This would explain the reduction in searched for divorce-related terms.

Divorce rates declined during the last recession. From 2006 to 2007 the number of divorces decreased by 3.0339% and from 2007-2008 a 5.01284% decrease in the number of divorces. So, the steady decline we’re seeing in search volume for divorce-related queries in 2020 mirrors that somewhat.

It’s also worth considering that the current situation itself presents a “make or break” style situation so it may also have caused couples to evaluate their issues and work through them without the need for divorce.

Then once lockdown eased, we can see some terms like ‘divorce application’ start to return to its usual position in search volume. This could be an indication of things to come as we return to some sense of normality.


UK Divorce Hotspots Revealed


Further Divorce Findings

The latest divorce data from ONS show that 83% of wives petitioning for divorce and 73% of husbands initiating divorce proceedings was on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour.

Unreasonable behaviour covers a wide range of issues, from lack of emotional support or a sexual relationship to refusing to contribute financially and more serious actions, such as domestic abuse.

This is in line with the most recent research from Women’s Aid which showed that 67% of survivors who are currently experiencing abuse said domestic abuse is escalating in lockdown, with 72% saying their partner had become more controlling since Covid-19.

ONS data shows that the average age for divorce among opposite-sex couples is 46.9 years for men and 44.5 years for women. The divorce rate for opposite-sex couples is highest for men aged 45-49 and women aged 40-44.

There were 90,871 divorces of opposite-sex couples in 2018, a decrease of 10.6% compared with 2017. This is the lowest numbers since 1971.

If you need legal advice take a look at our divorce settlements information or contact us today on 0191 232 3048 to make your consultation appointment.

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