Family law cases figures and trends: making sense of the stats
The ONS collects and collates data on “all areas of family justice including public and private law cases”, but tables of stats can be a little dry. So, an initiative by the Ministry of Justice to turn the stats into interactive graphs is very welcome.
This is actually more interesting that it sounds! The tool provides series of graphs, all of which you can filter to get at the heart of the trends. At a glance, you can see the divorce rate fluctuate month by month, year by year. (More couples are co-habiting, so this may account for the overall decline in the divorce rate.) You can see how domestic violence cases are just about in decline, but sadly, so are adoption rates.
Children in public law applications
At LGFL, we always put the needs of children first in our family law cases. What is interesting is how the ages of children involved have changed. The numbers of children aged 5-9 years and (more noticeably) 10-14 years has risen dramatically.
This graph gives another viewpoint; that the number of matrimonial cases involving children has actually dropped. It also shows that more divorce petitioners are women than men. However, the numbers of female petitioners has dropped compared to the number of male petitioners, which remains pretty consistent since 2005.
What do the figures mean?
Trends in divorce and family law
The unique aspect of our work as a specialist family law firm is that no case is ever the same. Family law is ultimately about people and their relationships, and what happens when those relationships break down. So, while figures may reveal trends that reflect changes in attitudes, legislation or the state of the economy, the fundamental reasons why family law cases happen don’t change too much.