Divorces sparked by adultery fell more than 50 per cent in last decade

Divorces sparked by adultery have fallen more than 50 per cent in the last decade, new figures show

  • Adultery was cited in 9,205 divorces in 2018, down from 20,765 in 2008 
  • In 1998, the total stood at 36,310, according to the Office for National Statistics
  • The ONS revealed the divorce rate is now at its lowest level since the early 1970s 

The number of couples divorcing on the grounds of adultery has fallen by more than half in a decade.

Adultery was cited in 9,205 divorces in 2018, down from 20,765 in 2008. In 1998, the total stood at 36,310, according to the Office for National Statistics. 

The figures suggest that most couples whose relationship has broken down are trying to remain civil, rather than become embroiled in a public blame-game.

The number of couples divorcing on the grounds of adultery has fallen by more than half in a decade

It comes four months after the ONS revealed that the divorce rate is now at its lowest level since the early 1970s. 

In English law it takes two years of separation before even the most amicable of splits can be legally finalised in divorce, or five years if one party does not consent.

But a ‘no fault’ divorce bill is passing through Parliament which will speed up the process and remove ‘needless antagonism’. 

Sir Paul Coleridge, chairman of the Marriage Foundation, told the Sunday Times that an act of adultery ‘may be a symptom of the problem, but my experience is that it isn’t the cause’. 

He added: ‘The cause is the broken relationship, and the adultery arises out of it.’

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