Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics look at the number of divorces that took place in England and Wales in 2011 and it is always interesting to take a look at whether marriage is still popular and how divorce has been affected by the recession.
The Office for National Statistics has released annual statistics on divorces that took place in England and Wales in 2011, following court orders. The statistics do not include divorces to couples usually resident in England and Wales which took place abroad.
For the purposes of this release, the term divorce includes both decrees absolute and decrees of nullity. Divorce statistics are analysed by sex, age and marital status before marriage, duration of marriage, age at divorce, the number and age of children involved, and the grounds for divorce.
The number of divorces in England and Wales in 2011 was 117,558, a decrease of 1.7% since 2010, when there were 119,589 divorces. In 2011, 10.8 people divorced per thousand married population compared with 12.9 in 2001.
The number of divorces in 2011 was highest among men and women aged 40 to 44. Based on marriage, divorce and mortality statistics for 2010, it is estimated that the percentage of marriages ending in divorce is 42%, compared with 45% in 2005. Are there any trends developing in marriage and divorce? Let me know what you think.
The issue of forced marriage was tackled by a judge who criticised health professionals as well as the families involved.
Mrs Justice Parker was ruling in a case of a Muslim woman who had learning difficulties and who was sent to Bangladesh to be married to her cousin so that he could settle in England. She ordered that the marriage should be annulled and said that doctors and social workers should have raised an alarm sooner.
In a strongly worded ruling she said that forcing marriage on someone who did not understand the vows she was making was a “gross interference” with their dignity and autonomy.
It was a brave move by the judge to attack, not only those guilty of forcing this woman to marry, but also professionals in this country, who could have alerted the authorities but chose not to. We shall see if her words make any difference in the future.
A leading barrister has suggested the economic downturn is resulting in more people hesitating before embarking on the process of divorce. Have you been on the brink of divorce only to hesitate due to economic factors?
Graham Campbell, who specialises in the financial consequences of marriage breakdowns, says that while, in the boom, most simply put the cost onto their credit card, this has largely stopped and more people are pausing to think about the financial ramifications, before going ahead.
His comments follow a poll by Resolution, the organisation for lawyers involved in mediation, which found 13% of people having considered divorce before deciding against it. Are you in that number or do you know anyone who is? We’d love to hear from you.
A US study has found just that, namely that children who grow up in a stable marriage stand a far better chance of escaping poverty.
It found that those from a stable family raise their chances of escaping from poverty by 82%. It also found that, in the high-income third of the population, most of the children came from married parents while in the bottom-income third most were raised by single parents.
Is it just marriage that is responsible for the increased chance of escaping poverty or is it the parents being in a stable relationship, whether married or not? What’s your view?
There was a feel-good factor around the country during the two glorious weeks of the Olympics and proof of this can be found from a solicitor’s office in Bristol which said there was a 30% drop in the number of enquiries during the games compared to the same period last year.
It also reports that since the games finished the rate has gone back up suggesting it was just a temporary diversion for some unhappy couples. By contrast the firm reports that the number of enquiries actually rose during Euro 2012, just a few weeks before the Olympics, and it puts this down to clashes over watching the television and tempers flaring after England’s defeat.
I’m not surprised about the figures. The Olympics was a time when people did come together, suspend their disagreements and watch in wonder as London hosted a fantastic event, allied to the fact that Team GB did so fantastically well. There were also thought to be an average of two marriage proposals every day made at the Olympic Park during the Olympics so, proof if it was needed, that the games really were a good time to be British.
A study of 1,800 four and five year olds found that those from poorer families were more likely to drink fizzy drinks and eat junk food. It may appear an obvious finding but it is nevertheless disturbing to find so few from a deprived background drinking milk, having fruit juice and getting their five a day of fruit and vegetables.
Naturally the finding has a consequence later in life. More of these youngsters who are on a poor diet find problems with their teeth and their general health when adults, thus putting greater strain on the NHS.
Are these families choosing these types of foods because they are cheap and convenient and are choosing to ignore the bigger picture, namely the long-term effect such eating and drinking patterns will have on themselves and their children? What can be done to change these habits? With so much emphasis these days on healthy eating, haven’t all avenues been explored? Let me know what you think.
A High Court judge had ruled that two boys, who had been stuck in the care system for 13 years and suffered abuse as they were passed from home to home, have both won the right to receive compensation. It is a sad story which shows the heavy responsibility that social workers and all those who had a role in these children’s upbringing have to bear.
The two, who are brothers, and are not named, will receive a sum expected to be in the region of £100,000 from Lancashire County Council which has been responsible for the pair since they were first taken into care in 1998. Since that time they have been placed with a total of 173 foster parents and have also suffered abuse. The court heard that their 13 years in care saw social workers repeatedly fail the boys by moving them from one home to another when the adoptions they should have had did not materialise.
The plan, after they were taken from their mother, was to home them both with an aunt but that failed and after social workers could not find new adoptive families they were both allowed to drift through the care system and had become, the court heard, “deeply distressed and disturbed and showed formidably challenging and sometimes violent behaviour”.
The judge called for a review to try and identify others who had become trapped in the care system. The government has said that it is committed to getting more children adopted as, though there are around 65,000 children currently in care, only around 3,000 were adopted last year.
Whatever the extenuating circumstances, it seems unforgiveable that the two boys in question had to spend so much of their formative years being uprooted from one family to another and it is inevitable that it has apparently taken a heavy toll on them. I hope lessons have been learned.
Religious leaders who support same-sex marriage are to fight back against those opposing it by joining forces to speak up for government plans. Will their calls make a difference or will the government get its way?
Representatives from the Church of England, liberal Jews, the Quakers and the Unitarian and Free Church are to speak out at a conference in response to the growing number of leaders from the Anglican and Catholic churches who have argued against the government’s proposals to offer civil marriages to gays and lesbians. Some who will be attending the conference will be calling for the government to go even further and allow churches to carry out religious same-sex marriages.
Rabbi Young, a spokesman for Reform Judaism, said that while the government’s intentions were to be applauded, it is still bizarre that while gay and lesbian rabbis can conduct a religious ceremony for straight couples, they are denied the right to experience that for themselves with their partners. Labour has organised the conference and has called for the Prime Minister to have an early debate on the issue.
The government is almost certain to reject calls by some to enable churches to “opt in” to religious same-sex marriage but church leaders are still fearful that gay rights campaigners could take their case to the European Court of Human Rights and win the right to have churches conduct such ceremonies against their will. It’s an often argued topic, what are your views? We would like to hear them.
That is the question following a case in which a man, who had been frozen out of a £4m inheritance, because his father considered him to be “lazy”, has won much of it back after a three-year court battle with his sister.
John Suggit was the only son of Frank, who was a farmer and had three daughters. He had told John that when he died he wanted him to take over the family estate in North Yorkshire, which included 400 acres of prime farmland and several houses. However Frank was upset when his son dropped out of agricultural college and wasted £38,000 that he had received after an aunt had died; he altered his will as a result.
So, when he died in 2009 all of the estate went to his eldest daughter Caroline. John challenged this in court and the will was effectively re-written, giving John £3m. Caroline took the case to the Court of Appeal, saying that her father’s wish was that John would only receive any inheritance once he had proved himself to be capable of farming but the court rejected her appeal.
Lady Justice Arden said that John had based his whole life around the farm and his father would not have wanted him to be homeless despite his disappointment in him. On the face of it, this sounds a little unfair, not only to Caroline but the two other daughters who appear not to have been catered for at all in the will. There is no evidence that Frank, at the time of making the will, was doing so under duress, so is it fair? What powers does the court have in that regard? Let me know your views.
Charities are warning that Britain is desperate for new foster carers as figures show that the number of children who have been taken into care has increased dramatically since the baby P case.
Since 2008 there has been a 17% rise in the number of care cases which has placed the system under ever greater pressure and the Fostering Network says that 8,750 new carers are desperately needed to keep the system afloat. The organisation said that 24,000 children who came into care were fostered in the last year alone and if many more carers do not come forward, more will be forced to live in residential care, often some distance away from their family and friends.
While some may argue that the 17% rise is a positive sign that social workers are now taking the issue more seriously than perhaps had been the case in the past, are they now overcompensating and intervening too early? Perhaps it is difficult to evaluate on a national basis but if you have any views or experience of this sector, we’d like to hear from you.