image of a divorce application

Divorce applications at highest level in a decade

New data has revealed that applications for divorce rose by 11% last year to 119,709, the most since 2012.

There were 24,273 divorce applications made between October and December 2022 under the new legislation. This was an increase of 5% from the same quarter in 2021, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Since no-fault divorce came into effect on 6th April 2022, there were 89,123 applications made (78% from sole applicants, 22% from joint applicants). There were also 21,507 conditional orders made under the new law and 7,453 final orders.

In an article in The Times Francesca Davey of Nockolds suggested that the introduction of no-fault divorce was “turbo-charging hasty DIY divorces.” A freedom of information request showed the number of DIY Divorce applications outnumbered those made by solicitors by more than two to one.

The figures also reveal that the amount of digital divorce cases has increased. There were 23,222 digital divorce applications made during October to December 2022 (96% of the total, up from 85% in the same period of 2021).

In 2022, digital divorce cases made up 94% of applications compared to 76% in 2021. Digital divorce cases also accounted for 78% of decree nisis/conditional orders and 68% of decree absolutes/final orders, up from 67% and 56% respectively the year before.

graphic showing divorce applications
Divorce petitions made between 2019 to 2022 (Source –

In the same article Dickon Ceadel from Forsters, suggested that the economic conditions may be having an impact, particularly amongst business owners who are considering divorce:

“Some (business owners) will be lucky enough to see a business worth £10 million valued at £5 million today, then return to £10 million later. Falling house prices can also make periods of economic stress a good time for financially weaker parties to divorce — they might be able to take the house in the financial settlement at a reduced valuation.”

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