Divorce Rate by Country: The World’s 10 Most and Least Divorced Nations

By the best family lawyers in Sydney.

We’ve taken a closer look at the divorce trends across the globe. Marriage is becoming less popular and divorce continues to rise. Check out the infographic below:

The Love of Divorce: Divorce Rates Around The Globe

Every year, world organizations such as the UN record global divorce rates. According to recorded data, the marriage and divorce statistics are dramatically changing due to a number of poignant factors. Most common reasons include:

  • Incompatibility
  • Infidelity
  • Drug/alcohol addiction
  • Physical/mental abuse

The reasons are quite a lot, and we haven’t even mentioned other irreconcilable factors that cause couples to call it quits and end their marriage.

Even marriage rates have not been stable and are dropping. This, however, does not include figures of marriages that ended through legal separations.

Here’s a divorce rate map, with the list of countries with the highest divorce rate.

Luxembourg: 87%

With a population of approximately 500,000, Luxembourg is actually one of the smallest countries in Europe. It boasts an advanced economy and high purchasing power parity. It’s also one of the states in Europe with the highest population growth rate. And right now, it’s also the top country with the highest divorce rate in the world.

Luxembourg will only allow divorce to take place given that both parties are above 21 years old and married for a minimum of 2 years. Here, the age group of divorcees ranges from 40-49 years old. And like other nations in the world, the rates showed in statistics on marriage are progressively decreasing.

Spain: 65%

When we think of Spain, the first thing that comes to mind is Catholicism. This is mainly the reason why it’s surprising that it ranks second on our list of the nations with the highest world divorce rates. Spain is only a tad lower than the Czech Republic, which divorce rate clocks at 66%.

In a place where Catholics strictly condemn divorce, the rate of marriages ending in divorce rose to 65% since it has been legalised in 1981 and grounds were simplified in 2007. Another contributing factor to marriage rate dropping and divorce rate rising in Spain is the financial difficulty that the country experienced in the recent years.

France: 55%

The third runner-up on our list of world divorce rates is France. Though commonly a travel-goal destination for couples, it appears that not everybody there is happy. As a matter of fact, Paris, the country’s romance capital, has the highest number of divorces filed in all of France, having a crude divorce rate of 1.9 per 1000 resident population.

The legal age for marriage in France is set at a young age of 18. For girls aged between 15-18 and want to marry, they need consent from at least one parent. Modifying this concession is currently in progress.

Russia: 51%

It is said that in the modern society of Russia, a marriage fails in more than every second. But why do Russian couples drift apart? Some say infidelity, poverty, alcoholism, and drug addiction should be blamed for the high divorce rate. A smaller percent of correspondents say couples divorce due to lack of compromise, selfishness, misunderstanding, conflict, and impact of social media.

How long do marriages last in Russia? Research states that one-third of marriages fail in the first 5 years. In the next 5 years, a quarter of marriages come to a conclusion. The divorce rate gradually falls by half in the forthcoming 5 years and further decreases as couples stay together longer.

United States: 46%

The grounds for divorce in the United States are classified into two: at-fault and no-fault. At-fault divorces used to be the only way to put marriage into an end; and if the couple had differences, this prevents both of them from marrying another person legally. However, fault divorces can be avoided with certain defenses.

No-fault divorces, on the other hand, requires no allegation or putting the blame on either party. Common reasons that fall under no-fault category include irreconcilable differences, incompatibility, and unavoidable breakdown of marriage.

Research has it that men who get high incomes are less likely to end up changing their marital status to ‘divorced’. Unfortunately, women with higher incomes have lesser chances of getting married. In most instances, couples with lower income have higher possibility to get a divorce due to financial strains.

Germany: 44%

Through the years, the causes of divorce in Germany has changed through time. The old issues such as alcoholism, infidelity, and violence were taken over by incompatibility and communication issues.

Since unhappy endings are inevitable, the German Law System prevents further occurrence of divorce by having only one ground for divorce. That is, if the couple is unable to resolve their issues, resulting to the breakdown of marriage. Both spouses are required by the Court to appear before a Judge and to state this personally. Here, enumerating the reasons for marriage breakdown is not necessary.

Divorce is acceptable if the couple went through a one-year separation, considering that it is consensual. However, if one spouse disagrees, the law requires a three-year separation.

United Kingdom: 42%

To get a divorce in the UK, you need to be married at least a year and prove to the court that your marriage has broken down due to one of the following reasons:

  • Adultery
  • Unacceptable behaviour (e.g. violence, verbal abuse, or addiction to alcohol or drugs)
  • Desertion (i.e. without any good reason or agreement, to end relationship, or left for more than 2 years)
  • You lived separately for 2 years (consent from the other party is required)
  • You lived separately for 5 years (doesn’t matter if one party disagrees)

New Zealand: 42%

In 2013, there were 8,279 divorced couples in New Zealand. Like Germany, NZ accepts only one ground for dissolution of marriage – breakdown or irremediable end of marriage.

A divorce can be filed before the Family Court if the couple has been separated for two years. Both spouses can submit the application, or apply alone if the situation calls for it.

The marriage rate in NZ has been declining steadily since 1971. A lot of factors contribute to this large fall in couples saying “I do”, including:

  • the substantial increase in informal or de facto relationships
  • the trend towards delayed marriage
  • increased numbers of residents not marrying

Australia: 38%

The Marriage and Divorce Statistics Division data show that around 33% of all Australian marriages are anticipated to end in divorce. This rate has been gradually increasing since 1975, especially when the Family Law Act legalised ‘no-fault divorce’, stating that the cause rate of the marriage breakdown was irrelevant to one’s ability to get a divorce. In the year 2010, 50,200 divorces were granted in Australia, which means that 100,400 more people were new divorcees at that time.

As of 2015, Australia’s crude divorce rate went to 2.0, while crude marriage rate rose to 5.2.

Based on a recent Australian study, these issues contribute to the increase in divorce rate Australia:

  • communication problems
  • loss of connection
  • infidelity/trust issues
  • physical or emotional abuse
  • alcohol and drug addiction
  • financial problems
  • work/time pressures
  • family interference
  • physical health or mental health issues

Canada 38%

In Canada, a divorce can only take place for one of these 3 reasons:

  • Spouses have lived separately for a minimum of 1 year.
  • One spouse had an affair.
  • One spouse treated the other with unforgivable cruelty.

A poll organised by the Bank of Montreal reveals that 68% of couples divorced due to financial issues. These issues bring about constant arguments, and then the decision to file for divorce normally follows.

Other reasons resulted from the poll include infidelity, falling out of love, lack of compatibility, and domestic abuse.

Now that we’ve covered the 10 most divorced countries, let’s head to the least most divorced locations in the world.

India: 1%

Contrary to the common misconception, divorce cases in India happen in “love marriages” as compared to “arranged marriages” at most times. Even so, India has the lowest divorce rate in the world to date. In every 1,000 marriages, only 13 ends up in divorce. But why exactly is the rate so low?

Indians abide by the principles of Hindu, which suggests a “one man, one woman” policy. Indian weddings, no matter the religion, take months of pre-marital rituals and a lot more days before the actual wedding. The whole “marriage process”, with the parents of both parties involved, establishes a psychological bond between the couple.

For Indian women, divorce may not be the best option because they would be considered as opposing the rules and tradition of the Indian society. In addition, women have to shoulder the high cost of divorce.

Aside from the time period before application and mediation period, divorce hearings typically take 1-2 months. Even mutual consent divorces take 12-18 months before divorce can take effect. For contested cases, the proceedings can be awful with claims of dowry torture, abuse, theft, etc. and this might drag down for many years.

Chile: 3%

Divorce is a subject that’s normally frowned upon by Chileans. This is perhaps well-developed divorce was only made legal in 2005. However, the Chilean Law System declare that there’s no such thing as no-fault divorce. This means that both parties should prove their grounds for filing a divorce. Acceptable grounds include chronic infidelity, abandonment, and physical abuse.

To date, it’s fair to say that Chileans still have the stigma as far as divorce is concerned.

Colombia: 9%

Why Colombian couples manage to stay together for longer sparks a debate among other nations. Some say that Colombian women are perfect partners because they hold their age very well, they’re family-oriented and more willing to act as a partner. Regardless of the case, it’s evident that couples in this country do a very good job in staying married and keeping their vows.

Mexico: 15%

In a place where a divorce is granted much quicker than the United States, it’s pretty surprising that rates fall this low. Speculations suggest that Mexican couples tend to divorce less due to extreme respect to the Catholic church. Also, in the 1970s, the Mexican Federal law enforced courts to stopped accepting divorce petitions from non-residents.

Turkey: 22%

Known as one of the countries with the highest Muslim population in the world, Turkey appears to have a low divorce rate as well. The number of married couples in Turkey is measured by crude marriage rate, which is simply the total of marriages within a given geographical area. In the case of Turkish people, only 1.46 for every 1,000 marriages tend to resort to divorce. This quite low compared to international rates, especially those of Europe. Why is this the case? People say couples with children choose to make their marriage work out rather than get separated.

Iran: 22%

Tying with the divorce rate in Turkey is Iran. Just recently, the Iranian government modified their laws with the aim to make divorce a harder endeavour and stop the rise of broken marriages.

Even a mutual-consent divorce will not be granted if the couple has not gone through counselling. As such, all spouses who seek to end their marriage are required to sign up for counselling and fix their issues. Common reasons for divorce in Iran are drug addiction, family interference, lack of affection, and domestic violence.

Divorce Remains an Adamant Issue Worldwide

There is no question that divorce, in all forms, remains a stubborn issue that our modern society faces at present. Though it can be purely coincidental, it appears that divorce rates are higher in well developed countries, compared to those that aren’t. The good thing with most government systems is that they’re working towards improving the rates of marriage and divorce so couples will think of divorce as the final ultimate resort.

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