The number of marriages in 2012 increased to 262,240, reflecting a 5.3% increase from 2011, with 70% civil marriages, 30% religious marriages taking place.  The highest level for 10 years, with the increase made up of first marriages, remarriages, civil and religious marriages, for both young and older couples.   Those couples aged between 65 to 69 years engaging in marriage, rose by 25% for males and for women 21%.

Typically the age for first marriage in 2012 was 36.5 for men and 34 for women, with 2012 seeing the greatest increase in church ceremonies, in more than 30 years, with the numbers in 2012, reflecting an increase by almost 5% per year.  It should be noted, that the figures do not include couples that get married overseas and it is predicted that taking into account only half the Office National Statistics (ONS) estimate, of those who get marriage overseas, the figure could increase by 11 %, with 306,000 couples tying the knot.

Conversely, an analysis of recent ONS figures, show that couples getting divorced is approximately 20% less than 10 years ago, with the number of divorces declining across the board, up to 50 years of age for males and 45 years of age for females.  However for those over 60 years old, numbers are up by 3% in 12 months, 45% in 10 years.  However Harry Benson of The Marriage Foundation has argued that ‘the over –hyped rise in over-60s ‘silver surfer’ divorces is due to an increase in the age at which couples marry and not higher divorce rates.’

It would appear that the young and those in the first 10 years of marriage are at the most risk of divorce. According to Harry Benson, The Marriage Foundation, 39% of couples marrying today will divorce (the recent figure of 42% from ONS statistics excludes overseas divorce) with the highest level within the first years three to six years.  Harry Benson states that ‘after surviving the first decade, couples face near-enough identical risk of divorce, regardless of whether they married in the 1960s, 70s, 80s or 90s.’

In 2012 118,140 divorces were recorded in England and Wales, a 0.5 % increase.  The divorce rate is now 10.8 for every 1,000 people entering into marriage.  An official ONS commentary said ‘recent trends could be consistent with the theory that recession is associated with an increased risk of divorce – but with a delayed impact.  This perhaps reflects a couple’s wait for an economic recovery to lift the value of their assets or the time lag between separation and obtaining a decree absolute.’

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