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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 January, 2005, 00:45 GMT
Affairs 'main reason for divorce'
Divorced couple (generic)
The number of divorces caused by family strains rose in 2004
Extra-marital affairs are still the number one reason for divorces, a new survey has revealed.

But family strains and emotional or physical abuse have shown significant increases as other causes, the survey of UK matrimonial lawyers showed.

Adulterous behaviour accounted for 27% of all cases in 2004, down from a total of 29% in the previous year.

The survey also found that 13% of marriages in 2004 ended because of mid-life crises.


The number of divorces caused by family strains rose from 11% in 2003 to 18% while the figure for emotional or physical abuse rose from 10% to 17%.

The first five years of any marriage is pretty much divorce-free and if the union last beyond 20 it looks set for life
Toni Pincott, matrimonial expert

Toni Pincott, a matrimonial expert with Grant Thornton's forensic practice which conducted the survey, said: "Divorce is becoming much more co-operative than it ever was with very few divorces now ending up in court.

"According to our survey's results, the first five years of any marriage is pretty much divorce-free and if the union lasts beyond 20 it looks set for life."

Extra-marital affair - 27%
Family strains - 18%
Abuse - 17%
Mid-life crisis - 13%
Addictions - 6%
Workaholism - 6%
Source: Grant Thornton

In divorces triggered by extra-marital affairs, men were three times more likely to be adulterous than women while 78% of those which were the result of family strains involved the families of women compared to 12% involving men's.

The survey found that, 93% of the time, it was women who had petitioned for divorce.

And in 2004, women achieved a better or considerably better settlement than men 60% of the time.

Pre-nuptial agreements continued to increase in popularity with more than 98% of matrimonial lawyers reporting higher or similar demand for these services than in the previous year.

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