Cookstown couples staying together, as divorce rate falls

Divorce rate falls in Cookstown
Divorce rate falls in Cookstown

Married couples in Cookstown are proving that they really do stick together for better or worse, after it was revealed that the number of divorces in the area has plummeted by 36 percent.

A total of 71 local couples had their vows annulled last year, down from a high of 111 in 2010, according to the latest registrar’s report from the Northern Ireland Statistical Research Agency.

The picture is starkly different to that of neighbouring Dungannon, where more than two couples a week cut their losses and ran from wedlock last year.

There has been a general downward trend in the number of divorces in the Cookstown area since the start of the recession.

However, fewer people are getting married in the Cookstown district, and those who take the plunge are waiting longer to do so, according to the official figures.

The number of local marriages has dropped from a high of 211 in 2010 to 204 last year, with the average age of the groom now 33.6 years, and that of the bride 31.2 years.

Cookstown couples also appear to be a conservative bunch, with the second lowest percentage of couples cohabiting before marriage (35%). with only Magherafelt and Armagh having lower rates (33%).

Cookstown couples were also less likely to have been married before (79%) than couples from the rest of Northern Ireland.

Across Northern Ireland, the number of divorces last year - 2,403 - was just four more than the previous year.

NISRA said this figure was comparable to the average over the last two decades “and notably lower than the peak of 2,913 divorces recorded in 2007”.

Brides were aged 31 on average, while grooms were 34; about five years older than the figures from two decades ago.

When it comes to people getting married at a younger age, 14% of brides and 6.8% of grooms last year were aged under 25. Ten years ago, the figure was 24% for women and 12% for men.

One hundred same-sex civil partnerships were registered in 2013; just one fewer than the year before.