Divorces fall as credit crunch bites housing prices

Recent data published by an estate agency suggests that married couples could have less use for a divorce solicitor in the near future. In the past decade peaks in house prices have been matched by those in divorces and vice versa, with recent government statistics suggesting that the pattern will continue to apply in the current economic downturn.

Divorce rates, however, appear to have been falling for a number of years now with 2007 recording the lowest figures for 26 years. Last year the rate fell to 11.9 per 1,000 married people from 12.2 per 1,000 in 2006. Figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest that this decline is due to people marrying later, when they know their partner better and when they are more capable of coping with any problems.

Despite this downward trend Lucian Cook, director of Savills Research, has said "We forecast that the current falls in property prices - unwelcome and uncomfortable for the majority - will result in fewer divorces, even allowing for the overriding downward trend in the UK?s divorce rate." The survey backs up hearsay from divorce lawyers who blame the credit crunch for less divorces but are seeing a rise in pre-nuptial and co-habitations.

One group to buck the trend is the over-sixties who have reached a record high of divorce rates. Lawyers says that couples faced with a more active retirement appear less willing to remain in an unhappy marriage.

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