Marriage and Divorce Globally

Marriage & Divorce Globally- A Statistical Comparison

Divorce

There’s nothing wrong with divorce and it shouldn’t be seen as a dirty word. The fact that it conflicts with various world religions’ teachings and traditions was a reason for prejudice surrounding divorce in the past. Thankfully in progressive society, although it is something never to be taken lightly and family values are still at the forefront in the world of parenting, divorce is an accepted option. No one deserves to be trapped in an unhappy marriage that may be affecting their children negatively as well.

Data from 2014 divulges divorce rates (divorce to marriage ratio) by country in an interesting and easily interpreted diagram here. What we can gather from this data is that the traditional view of religion or conservative religious belief holding marriages together and affecting divorce rates doesn’t always ring true. Chile is a religious country and consequently does have a very low divorce rate. However a predominantly Catholic country like Spain actually appears to have a much higher rate of divorce than the relatively secular Scandinavian counties. How divorce is perceived internationally is often dependent on a country’s societal and cultural attitudes not just religion. The research does have its limitations with information missing for various countries.

Further studies have shown that within the US the Bible belt doesn’t necessarily have lower rates of divorce in comparison with the rest of the country. Although the south-central and south eastern states have long been associated with the promotion of conservative views both politically and socially, the data suggests that divorce rates don’t correlate with the higher rates of religion in these areas.

Marriage

Findings amongst OECD countries show that the number of marriages in recent years is declining. This runs concurrently with the average age of people when they decide to marry increasing. In some countries it is common to marry at a much older age than others, this can be accounted for by the culture of prolonged co-habitation before marriage which is prominent in Scandinavia for example. This indicates that a decline in marriages isn’t automatically a bad thing! People taking further consideration before getting involved in a serious legal and loving engagement can be a sensible course of action.

Something to keep in mind when comparing global divorce and marriage statistics is that there is a big variance in divorce process, length, cost and procedure as well as varying stipulations which all affect the average marriage and divorce length and rates.

Divorce perceptions

Divorce will most likely always have a certain amount of taboo attached to it. A survey in the UK found that half of couples that divorce feel ashamed and a sense of failure, with women twice as likely as men to express these feelings. This can partly be attributed to the added and unequal societal pressure and expectation placed on women in these situations. I’ll go back to what I said earlier, nobody deserves to be unhappy or trapped and it doesn’t have to be somebody’s fault that things didn’t work out. You shouldn’t have to feel judged; frequently divorce is in the best interests of the whole family.

Some people will tell you that parenting only really starts post-divorce and it is certainly true that challenges occur when you begin parenting separately, sharing custody and co-parenting using two different houses. Not to mention when you start to design and agree on a custody schedule. There are plenty of resources available online and on this website to help you become accustomed to this new situation. Whichever country you reside in, if you are separating from your partner, don’t worry. Millions of people are going through the same process, you are not alone!

Krishan Smith, author of this article, is the new senior editor at Custody X Change, a custody software specialist company. He’s originally from the UK but now living in Colombia.