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Armed Forces: Divorce

Volume 475: debated on Monday 28 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the divorce rate among service personnel was in each year since 1997, broken down by service; and how many divorces involving a member of the armed services were recorded in each year. (200942)

The following table shows annual divorce rates and number of divorces for Army and RAF personnel for each year since 1997. Naval service data are not available as the naval service groups ‘Separated’, ‘Divorced’ and ‘Widowed’ together.

Divorces within the Army and RAF, and rate as a percentage of average married strength: 1997 to 2006

Army2

RAF

Number

Rate (percentage)

Number

Rate (percentage)

1997

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

1998

n/a

n/a

610

1.6

1999

1,120

2.1

570

1.6

2000

1,180

2.3

640

1.8

2001

1,130

2.2

620

1.8

2002

1,310

2.6

590

1.8

2003

1,210

2.4

520

1.7

2004

1,200

2.4

580

1.9

2005

1,040

2.1

570

1.9

20061

930

1.9

n/a

n/a

n/a = not available

1 Figures for 2006 are for the most recently available 12 months which cover the period up to 1 December 2006.

2 For the years 1999, 2000 and 2001, annulments are excluded from the calculations for divorce rates, as the information was not available, however the remaining years do include annulments in their calculation.

Figures are for UK Regular Forces, and therefore exclude Gurkhas, full-time Reserve Service personnel, the Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment and mobilised reservists. Figures are for trained and untrained personnel excluding officer designates.

Rates are calculated as a percentage of the average married strength during the calendar years. The term ‘divorce’ includes ‘decree absolute’ and ‘marriage annulled’. It excludes ‘decree nisi’ and individuals who are separated.

Figures after 1 December 2006 are unavailable following the phased implementation of the Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) system.

To collect and collate marital status from units, in order to produce figures for divorce rates, could be done only at disproportionate cost.