Non-U.S. Divorce Rates

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A comparison of Divorce Laws and Rates in the United States and Europe

Finding world divorce stats

Table of latest available divorce rates for 93 countries circa 2001
Table of divorce rates for 36 countries and ratios to U.S. rate, circa 1994
World divorce statistics from Divorce Magazine

Divorce increases in Italy and other European countries.
Italy has Europe's lowest divorce rate; 3-yr waiting period credited.

Divorce Rates and Frequency of Grounds In France
Millenium Divorce Rates in Britain Skyrocket
Increase in Britain divorces for year 2000

Japan, Australia, New Zealand divorce rates
Australian Divorce and Marriage Rates
Post-no-fault divorce statistics from Australia and several other countries
Comprehensive Report on Marriage and Family in Australia
State of New South Wales, Australia divorce statistics - a very complete set including stats on age and length of marriage
State of South Australia Divorce Statistics x - incl. age, length of marriage, attitudes
Australian divorce, illegitimacy and non-marriage, and the economic effects
Australian Parliamentary Report on divorce rates, costs, and numbers of children affected x
May divorce be with you - but don't be surprised when it sends you ...
(Sydney Morning Herald, New South Wales,Australia
By Stephanie Peatling.)

Asian Family Law: How Half the World Lives (Divorce in Korea and Japan)
China: Why divorce rose, why reforms proposed
Chinese Marriages & Culture
Divorce in International Marriages in Shanghai
Divorce and adultery increasing in Fiji after no-fault divorce legalized
Divorce Cases Fall 1st Time in 16 Years
(Korea Times - South Korea)
Divorce Rate among older Japanese is growing
Japanese Social Changes: More Divorce

Most divorcees try again, Canadian study shows


"Divorce rate growing in Kathmandu, Nepal"

Cases of divorce are growing in Kathmandu thanks to growing domestic
violence and social-economic problems.

A record made available by the Kathmandu District Court shows that a total
of 597 cases were registered in Kathmandu district in the year 2061/62 B.S.
out of which 198 cases are yet to be decided. The number of divorce cases
filed at the district court the previous year was 560 of which 351 cases
were decided.

128 divorce cases were registered in first three months of the current
fiscal year, court officials informed.

"Domestic violence is the major cause behind growing divorce rate," points
out Basanti Shrestha, an advocate at the Legal Aid and Consultancy Center

She added, "Most divorce cases are related to love marriages but there are
also few cases in which husband and wife seek divorce after spending as many
as than 20 years together".

"As far as filing divorce case is concerned, females are ahead of males
because women can directly file petition at the district court while males
are required to file cases in the municipal office at first," she explained.

Analyzing the cause of divorce from sociological point of view, Chandra
Kanta Gyawali, a sociologist and a lawyer, said, "It primarily depends on
how the couples were socialized in the society before they got married. It
is the environment in which they grew up that decides their mindset. And, if
their way of thinking differs, it ends up in a split."

"Divorce does not always cause harm to social order. Sometimes it becomes
the only way out for married couples who find it difficult to give
continuity to their relationship and seek a way-out," he added. . Neetu Dubey Nov 07 05

Chandigarh, Newsline
Friday, November 04, 2005
Matrimonial malaise: Till divorce do us part
Raghav Ohri
Chandigarh, November 3: And more marriages than ever before are ending in divorce in the city.

In 1997, only 216 cases of divorce were filed by residents in the district courts here; in the fifth year of the new millennium, the number will reach 900 and may just touch a thousand.

The jump in the number of divorces has come recently, with statistics showing that the number has doubled in the last three years alone.

One reason is that divorces...are easier to make. ... With new amendments being made in the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA), seeking a divorce has become simpler. ... The latest amendment was made in 2003. It allowed a petitioner to seek divorce from the place where he/she last lived, unlike earlier when divorce had to be sought either from the place where the couple last lived together or the place where the wedding took place.
Germany's divorce rate has risen beyond the 200,000-a-year mark, thus
affecting over 400,000 spouses and 170,000 school children.
>From "Divorce at Germany's Newsstands", Deutsche Welle, 9/29/05


"Seven Factors Identifed As The Main Causes Of Divorce"

Bernama - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
September 10, 2005 19:15 PM

KOTA BAHARU, Sept 10 (Bernama) -- Seven factors have been identified as the
main causes of divorce among couples in the country, among them failure by
husbands and wives in discharging their responsibilities.

Universiti Sains Malaysia Kubang Kerian's Faculty of Health director, Prof
Datuk Dr Mafauzy Mohamed said besides this the others were a low grounding
in religion, interference by third parties, differences in culture, sexual
problems, money and careers.

The overall divorce rate among Malay Muslims in the country was in the
region of 10 to 15 per cent, he said.

"The latest studies conducted by Jakim (Malaysian Islamic Development
Department) found 21 per cent of divorces was because of the irresponsible
attitude of husbands or wives," he told a mental health symposium here

According to him, 19.23 per cent was because of incompatibility and the
remainder due to problems of drugs and others.

Mafauzy added that various measures had been and would be taken, among them
having more courses, workshops and seminars and counselling to curb the

*Korea divorce rate declines; wait period among possible causes.
The Chosun Ilbo & Digital Chosun Ilbo
Updated Oct.25,2005 19:49 KST

Divorce Rate Declines

Korea's divorce rate declined last year after a decade's seemingly
unstoppable rise. Ministry of Court Administration data released Tuesday put
the number of amicable divorces filed in courts across the nation last year
at 143.922, 18 percent less than in 2003. Amicable divorces had been on a
steady rise, first exceeding 100,000 cases in 1998.

The number of divorce lawsuits also steadily increased from 28,000 cases in
1991, peaking at 49,380 in 2001.

Infidelity was the main reason cited in lawsuits, accounting for 46.1
percent of the total. Couples in their 30s made up the biggest group seeking
a divorce, with 46.2 percent of men and 40.8 percent of women. Some 65.2
percent had been married for less than five years.

One reason for the decline seems to be that fewer people get married in the
first place. The National Statistical Office said the number of marriages
fell from 334,030 in 2000 to 304,932 in 2003 before seeing a slight increase
to 310,944 last year.

A cooling-off program piloted by the Seoul Family Court since March also
played a part. Lee Myeong-sook, a lawyer, said the program, which requires
couples who file for divorce to take time to reconsider, may have helped
reduce divorce cases where couples wanted to split in a fit of anger.

A judge in the Family Courts offered another explanation, saying
straightened economic conditions also reduced divorces. "Some couples
hesitate to get divorced because the government's real-estate policies make
it hard to sell their home so they can split the money and go their separate
ways," the judge said.

( )

*Reforms increase divorce rate in China
*China tries to stem soaring divorce rate,7369,1428224,00.html

Here's how various countries ranked on divorce:
Maldives, 10.97
Guam, 4.34
Russia, 4.3
United States, 4.1
Ukraine, 4
Puerto Rico, 3.82
Cuba, 3.54
Czech Republic, 2.9
Finland, 2.7
*For comparison purposes, the rate is measured by divorces per 1,000 inhabitants, not by percentage. © 2004, The Dallas Morning News. "BREAKING UP" Cited in a posting in the Smart Marriages Listserv Aug 4, 2004. [Judging from the U.S. Figure, these numbers are probably from 2000 or earlier]

Divorce rates of all countries, compared to U.S.:
  Country            Divorce Rate      Rate as % of US Rate
             	  (Per 1000 population
						per year)
    Sri Lanka          0.15              3.03%
    Brazil             0.26              5.25%
    Italy              0.27              5.45%
    Mexico             0.33              6.67%
    Turkey             0.37              7.47%
    Mongolia           0.37              7.47%
    Chile              0.38              7.68%
    Jamaica            0.38              7.68%
    Cyprus             0.39              7.88%
    El Salvador        0.41              8.28%
    Ecuador            0.42              8.48%
    Mauritius          0.47              9.49%
    Thailand           0.58             11.72%
    Syria              0.65             13.13%
    Panama             0.68             13.74%
    Brunei             0.72             14.55%
    Greece             0.76             15.35%
    China              0.79             15.96%
    Singapore          0.80             16.16%
    Tunisia            0.82             16.57%
    Albania            0.83             16.77%
    Portugal           0.88             17.78%
    Korea              0.88             17.78%
    Trinidad           0.97             19.60%
    Qatar              0.97             19.60%
    Guadeloupe         1.18             23.84%
    Barbados           1.21             24.44%
    Finland            1.85             37.37%
    Canada             2.46             49.70%
    Australia          2.52             50.91%
    New Zealand        2.63             53.13%
    Denmark            2.81             56.77%
    United Kingdom     3.08             62.22%
    Russia             3.36             67.88%
    Puerto Rico        4.47             90.30%
    US                 4.95            100.00%

[Statistics provided by "Fathers' Manifesto" <> in posting to, I believe their source was a World Almanac or something similar from 1994 or thereabouts]

Catholic Annulment Statistics Worldwide:
"For the year 2002: of the 56,236 ordinary hearings for a declaration of
nullity, 46,092 received an affirmative sentence. Of these, 343 were handed
out in Africa, 676 in Oceania, 1,562 in Asia, 8,855 in Europe and 36,656 in
America, of which 30,968 in North America and 5,688 in Central and South

"China booms, so does divorce rate"
By Quentin Sommerville.
BBC News, Shanghai
September 13, 2005
"The rules of love, and separation, are changing in China. Until recently divorce was rare in the communist state. ... Small wonder then that the divorce rate jumped by a fifth last year. ..If both parties [in an unhappy couple] agree - the divorce will be issued in only ten minutes, for as little as 65 pence ($1)."
<Quentin Sommerville's report was shown on Newsnight on 13 September, 2005 on BBC Two.>

*How to divorce proof a marriage
REPORTER: Rohan Wenn
BROADCAST DATE: March 8, 2005
Seven simple rules can save your marriage
Australia's [annual] divorce rate stands at around three divorces per 1000
marriages. Census records show that more than 55,000 divorces were granted
in 2001, the last time that figures were published for. During the same
period around 103,000 marriages were registered.
But new research shows that maybe some of those divorces may not have
happened had the couples spent a little more time playing by the rules and
fighting fair.

New Zealand
Statistics New Zealand says ... marriages are lasting slightly longer,
despite divorce statistics rising slightly over the past decade.
The median duration of marriages ending in divorce in 2004 was 13.3 years,
compared with 12.4 years a decade ago.
But divorce statistics show that one third of New Zealanders who married in
1979 had divorced before they got to celebrate their silver wedding
anniversary in 2004.
One quarter of all divorces in 2004 were to couples who had been married
five to nine years.
-- From Kiwis waiting longer to get married, TVNZ - New Zealand May 16, 2005 <>

"Globalization of divorce: The downside of international romance ..."
- According to statistics from the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, there
were 36,039 international marriages registered in 2003--up 30 percent from
1995--while divorces involving international couples numbered 15,256 in
2003, double the number in 1995.

As a proportion of all marriages and divorces in Japan in 2003,
international couples made up one in every 20 marriages and one in every 18

Among the international marriages and divorces, China, the Philippines and
Korean residents in Japan provided the largest number of brides for Japanese
men, while Koreans, Americans and Chinese were most common nationals to
marry Japanese women, according to the statistics.

"International couples involved in divorce problems have to face twice the
usual hardship because of different laws, cultural gaps and differing
customs. They often have no one to consult about their situation and the
number of those who end up fretting about the whole process on their own is
very large," said freelance writer Hisako Matsuo, who has been running a Web
site on the subject of international divorce since 1999. Matsuo also
recently published a book on the subject, Kokusai Rikon (International
Divorce, Shueisha Inc.).

>From --"Globalization of divorce: The downside of international romance ..."
Daily Yomiuri Online - Japan


"Record number of divorces in year"
by Press Association
September 20, 2005
UTV - Ireland
... Ms Jaffa said 2,228 children were affected by divorce last year. ... The
average duration of marriage ending in divorce was 16.2 years. ...

Scotland moves toward looser divorce laws (still stricter than our divorce prevention proposals). Of course, their model for a loosened divorce law is the same thing that we are working for as a stricter law -- two years' wait without consent. Actually, in some of the other details, their liberalizing reform is still stricter than our reform would be.( See ).

"Quicker divorce law moves a step closer"
by: Angus Howarth
The Scotsman - United Kingdom
September 16, 2005

PLANS to radically reform family law and allow quicker divorces passed
their first parliamentary hurdle yesterday.

The Family Law Bill will cut the separation period for divorce with consent
from two years to a year and from five to two in cases without consent.

MSPs approved the principles of the bill by 86 votes to four.

The plans have proved controversial. The Roman Catholic Church has voiced
fears over "quickie divorces" and Tory critics have claimed the proposals
contained little evidence that they would safeguard children and support
stable families.

The bill will also bring in legal safeguards for cohabiting couples and
establish parental rights and responsibilities for unmarried fathers.

Hugh Henry, the deputy justice minister, said: "Scottish ministers have not
been afraid to broach the difficult issues, to reform divorce laws, extend
parental responsibilities and rights to include unmarried fathers, introduce
safeguards of cohabiting couples and extend protection for the vulnerable."


Divorce rates have risen over the past three years since falling back from the level reached in 1996, the Office of National Statistics said. The total number of divorces in England and Wales last year was 153,490, working out at 13.9 divorces per 1,000 married people. This rose from 13.4 in 2002. In almost seven out of 10 cases, the divorce was the first for both husband and wife. The average age at which couples split is increasing, at almost 42 for men and 39-and-a-half for women. Couples are also staying together for slightly longer, with the average up from 11.1 years in 2002 to 11.3 years before they part company. Just over half the couples who divorced last year had at least one child aged under 16. More than 150,000 children were in families where the parents divorced last year and a fifth of those were under five. WEB ROMANCE 'FUELS DIVORCE RISE', BBC NEWS August 31, 2004. Cited in a posting from Smart Marriages Listserv on Aug. 31, 2004.

First two years of marriage most dangerous for divorce
Keralanext - Kerala,India
UK News]: London, U.K : A new survey conducted by YouGov, a polling
organisation, for Mishcon de Reya, a London law firm suggests that nearly a
quarter of divorcees consider leaving their partner within the first two
years of marriage.
According to The Telegraph, out of 546 divorcees, a third had filed for
divorce before their fifth wedding anniversary. More than a quarter (27 per
cent) of divorcees said that their "sexless" marriages drove them apart
while one in 10 said their spouse's family had forced them to divorce.
For women, divorce is highest among those aged 25 to 29. Divorce for men
peaks among the 30-34 age. Women say they come off worse in divorce, but
more men say their divorces would have been less costly if they had a
pre-nuptial agreement.


"Couples in their twenties take divorce to new high"
By Sarah Womack, Social Affairs Correspondent
(Filed: 01/09/2005)
<;sSheet=/news/2005/09/01/ixhome.html> - United Kingdom
... Men and women between the ages of 25 and 29 continued to have the
highest divorce rates - at around 29 per 1,000 married couples, it is twice
the average. ...

Mohamed Bouzouba: Marriage rates up, divorce down
Morocco Times - Casablanca, Morocco
The number of marriage contracts is estimated at 243.492, in the period
from February 2004 and January 2005, achieving an increase of 2.76%, while
cases of divorce decreased 40%, revealed on Wednesday Justice Minister,
Mohamed Bouzoubaâ.
Addressing the House of Representatives question time, the minister said the
implementation of the new Family Code has had a positive impact on marriage
rates in Morocco.
In January 2004, the kingdom introduced important amendments on the family
code that have enhanced women and children rights and strengthen family
Bouzoubaâ also revealed that divorce at the wife's request declined by
42.3%, which evidences that married women are "no longer obliged to divorce
in exchange of a compensation."

*Canada Divorce Rates (has tables)

*Multiple divorce trend on rise in Canada
Published March 9, 2005
OTTAWA -- A growing number of Canadian men are going through divorce more than once, the country's statistical agency, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday.
Using census information, the agency found in 1973 the number of men getting more than one divorce was 5.2 percent. In 2003, that more than tripled to 16.2 percent.
The increase among divorced women in the same period was only marginally smaller -- from 5.4 percent in 1973 to 15.7 percent in 2003.
Most divorces happened after three years of marriage, when 26.2 out of 1,000 marriages ended in divorce, and statisticians said it appeared the risk of divorce declined slightly with each passing year of marriage.
The national divorce rate rose 1 percent overall in 2003 to 70,828 divorces, although the agency did not factor in whether the number of marriages had also increased in the same period.

"After falling for several years the [Canadian divorce rate reached] an all-time high following passage of the Divorce Act of 1985, which allows divorce after one year's separation, regardless of the cause."
The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher p. 148, citing Gertrude Schaffner Goldenberg, "Canada: Bordering on the Feminization of Poverty," in The Feminization of Poverty: Only in America, ed. Gertrude Schaffner Goldenberg and Eleanor Kremen (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990), 77.

Japan: "The number of divorces annually has almost doubled since 1990, with 264,000 couples formally breaking up in 2000." -- from Reuters, "Japan Cuts Single-Mum Benefits, Blames Divorce Rate", Fri Jun 7, 9:54 AM, By Isabel Reynolds.

Committee reports marriage statistics
Monday, May 27, 2002
Moscow, Russia, May 27, 2002 (RosBusinessConsulting via COMTEX) -- The
number of divorces increased 38.2 percent in Russia in the first quarter of
2002 versus the corresponding period last year and reached 224,300 (as
compared to 186,100 in the first quarter of 2001). The number of marriages
went up 12.5 percent, from 192,200 in the first quarter of 2001 to 204,700
in the corresponding period this year, the State Statistics Committee
reported. This means that the number of divorces surpassed the number of
marriages by 19,600 from January to March this year. In the first quarter of
2001, the number of marriages was 6,100 more than that of divorces.
-- From Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education on-line newsletter

"Apparently China may soon be moving towards a legally required
premarriage education, according to an article in the APA Division 48
newsletter by Ann Gardano, who just returned from there. The divorce
rate in China has jumped from 4% in the 1980s to 26% in 1995!

Marital therapy does not exist in the country, but "divorce school"
is mandated." -- From Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education on-line newsletter

"Divorces in Japan have more than doubled, from just over 95,000 in 1970
to 206,955 in 1996, according to Health Ministry statistics. One in
three Japanese marriages now ends in divorce." [From AP story, "Japan's divorced find strength in numbers"] If that link outdated, try this one. x

"Since the introduction of "no-fault divorce" in Canada 30 years ago, the
rate of marital break-up has soared 600%. A third of marriages fail, and
over a third of those break-ups involve children. One-fifth of Canadian
children have lost a parent to divorce, with an effect that some
sociologists now say can be "worse than a parent's death." Divorce is
consistently associated with juvenile emotional disorders, crime,
suicide, promiscuity and later marital break-up."
From "The push for 'high-octane' marriages: An American state rolls back the divorce revolution by re-establishing life-long covenants."
By Tim Rotheisler. Alberta Report, August 4, 1997

1997: the number of marriages celebrated reached an all time low of 29,611, and 12,222 divorces were granted.

From Registrar General's Annual Report 1998 (General Register Office for Scotland, 1998), Tables 7.1 and 8.1. Cited in Sutherland, Elaine E. "Scotland: Consolidation and Anticipation" in The International Survey of Family Law 2000 Edition. Jordan Publishing Ltd., 2000, p. 333.

1998: 17,800 divorces
Divorces were up 40% from 1990 to 1998
Rate of divorce: 42% projected divorce rate for marriages begun in 1998 (one of the highest in Europe)
Marriages celebrated were in decline:
1991: 47,567
1998: 38,500
1998: only 8.7% of children were born out of wedlock (one of the lowest in Europe)

Annuaire statistique de la Suisse 1999, Zurich (1999). Cited in Guillod, Olivier. "Switzerland: A New Divorce Law for the New Millennium" in The International Survey of Family Law 2000 Edition. Jordan Publishing Ltd., 2000, p.358.

Cuba has 75% Divorce Rate, rampant cohabitation
"Cuba is suffering from an acute economic crisis. But many Cubans say there's a second one, the death of the idea of family. ...Over the years, Cuban socialism has taken a toll on the traditional
family. Husbands and wives sometimes have to live apart for months
because of work assignments in different parts of the country. Three of
every four marriages end in divorce. Common-law arrangements are more
the norm than formal marriage, government statistics show."
Published Thursday, January 22, 1998, in the Miami Herald

Using data from the 1993 Utrecht Study of Adolescent Development, a longitudinal panel study, the Dutch professors studied a sample of 2,636 parent-child pairs to explore the emotional adjustment of Dutch young people, ages 12-24, in four different family types: divorced families and two-parent families ranked according to high, medium-, and low-marital quality. They found that adolescents who grew up in "post-divorce" families, as well as "martially distressed" intact families, experienced significantly less well-being than adolescents living with parents with medium- and high-marital quality.
Nevertheless, daughters were found to be affected by parental marital quality and divorce more than were sons. The mean emotional adjustment of girls was lower than that of boys in all four categories. Growing up in a divorced family was found to be "especially detrimental" for daughters, as "parental resources" were able to offset the negative effect of divorce on the emotional adjustments of sons.
In addition, while adolescent well-being declined for both boys and girls as they grew older in all four family categories, the decline was actually greater for girls than for boys. The inverse association between well-being and age did not vary by marital quality or divorce, indicating that children do not outgrow the negative effects of divorce or low-marital quality. In fact, the researchers found just the opposite: that the effects of divorce on adolescent children were long term. The study also found that low-marital quality, often a predictor of a pending divorce, yielded similar effects on adolescent girls as did divorce itself, suggesting that "the process of negative divorce effects may indeed be at work long before a possible divorce takes place."
(Source: Inge Vandervalk et al., "Marital Status, Marital Process, and Parental Resources in Predicting Adolescents' Emotional Adjustment: A Multilevel Analysis," Journal of Family Issues 25 [2004]: 291-317.) "FAMILY DEPRESSES DUTCH DAUGHTERS" Cited in a posting on the Smart Marriages Listserv Nov, 29, 2004.

"Post-marriage courses are more relevant in preventing divorces than pre-marriage ones, according to a sociologist." After romance has settled down after about four to five years, marriage starts to break up, says Universiti Malaya's Family Development Centre director Prof. Dr Abd Rahim Abd Rashid. Studies show this statement to be true. "Pre-marriage courses prepare couples for challenges in married life, but refresher courses on how to sustain and manage a marriage are more important in reversing the upward trend of divorce cases in the country," he said. The pre-marriage courses have dropped divorce rates among Muslims: 10,267 in 2002 compared with 13,536 in 2000 according to the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry. Statistics show that divorces among non-Muslims in 2002 mainly occurred in the more developed states ­p; Penang (23%), Federal Territory (20%), Selangor (16%) and Johor (8%). In the case of Muslims, these were mainly in Kelantan (14%), Perak (12%) and Kedah (11%). --- "POST MARRIAGE COURSES BETTER" From Smart Marriages Listserv Aug 11, 2004. Article Cited in a posting on the Smart Marriages Listserv Aug 11, 2004. By Lam Li.

Russians are the quickest to marry, but also to divorce, out of all the citizens of countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, a UNICEF report has found. It says that an average of seven couples get married in Russia each year per 1,000 people -- more than double the rate in Georgia, which has just three weddings per 1,000 people. But Russians are also the most likely to get divorced, with a record six couples per 1,000 people getting divorced in 2002, or 83 percent of the marriage rate. Next in the divorce stakes are Estonians (almost 70 percent), while the lowest divorce rate among the countries surveyed is in Tajikistan (7 percent). "RUSSIANS: QUICKEST TO MARRY AND DIVORCE" Moscow Times, Dec 8, 2004, By Nabi Abdullaev. Cited in a posting on Smart Marriages Listserv Dec. 8, 2004.

Dubai,United Arab Emirates
Survey reveals 46pc divorce rate in UAE
Khaleej Times - Dubai,United Arab Emirates
By a staff reporter. DUBAI -- "The divorce rate in the UAE has touched 46 per
cent, the highest in the AGCC."

Divorce soars among older couples
Today's Family News - Langley,BC,Canada
Recent Statistics Canada data reveals a disturbing increase in the number of
older couples who are opting for divorce, the Edmonton Journal reported. ...

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Originally posted and maintained by Americans for Divorce Reform; now maintained by John Crouch. You can call me at (703) 528-6700 or e-mail me through my law office's web site.