A DATABASE on divorce trends is being urged by lawyers worried about a sharp increase in marital rifts. There were 10,292 divorces last year, compared with 5,047 in 1985 and 3,120 in 1982. Lawyers want to discover the most common reasons for breakups and details of settlements reached. They are urging the Judiciary to keep full records of divorce applications. Hong Kong University law lecturer Athena Liu Nga-chee has asked the Judiciary to record details, including grounds for divorce, who it was granted in favour of and the number of children involved. 'We have to have some kind of research programme going on to collect data,' she said. 'We need to know how the law is operating. If you don't know how the law affects people, you can't tell if it's effective or not. 'We need to know how the law impacts on the people, for example, in relation to children, how many are involved in marriage breakdowns and what effect it has on families.' 'People are saying divorce is on the increase, but we don't know why,' she said. Chairman of the Family Law Association Sharon Ser is urging a 'forensic breakdown' of the divorce situation. 'The association has been calling for a properly organised database for the family court,' she said. 'It's important to know in terms of manpower, how we can best be advising the clients, and it's important in terms of understanding the development of society as a whole, what changes are happening.' The Judiciary failed to respond to questions about Mrs Liu's calls, except to say it keeps records of the number of petitions filed and divorces completed.