Figures released last month by the Office for National Statistics have revealed that both the total number and rate of divorces slumped to the lowest level for four decades in 2014.

In England and Wales, a total of 111,169 couples divorced in 2014, down 3.1 per cent from the previous year and 27 per cent on 2004. This equates to a fall of around 30 per cent in a decade, with the rate now at 9.3 per cent for every 1,000 married people.

The figures also revealed that the age at which people are getting divorced is increasing, continuing a trend which has seen the average age at divorce increase each year since 1985. In 2014, the average age at divorce was 45.6 for men and 43.1 for women. This compares with the 1985 average of 37.4 for men and 34.9 for women.

Nicola Haines, Vital Statistics Outputs Branch, Office for National Statistics, said: “Compared with 2004, divorce rates in 2014 were lower for all age groups except women aged 55 and over. Likely factors include increased cohabiting and increasing age at first marriage.

“Previous research indicates a higher risk of divorce among those marrying at younger ages, whilst cohabitation may be reducing the number of weaker relationships progressing to marriage.”

Link: The 11.7 year itch: How marriage is lasting longer as divorce rates plunge