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April | 03

DIVORCE – A SIGNIFICANT TREND ?

Divorce rates are progressing worldwide while marriage rates are dropping, giving way to cohabitation. Cohabitation is supported by legislation giving the members of a cohabiting couple the same rights as those of a married couple. This, in turn, has led to an increasing number of children born out of wedlock with present figures above 40% and likely to reach 50%.

In Europe there is a geographic divide with countries in the North having high divorce rates while countries in the South have low divorce rates.

Divorce is more common for professional women as they have more opportunities to meet other men that they may prefer to their husband, and are less likely to have children. They are more likely to put in doubt the value of the marriage, particularly if they are in a high income bracket.

Several factors impact the decision to divorce. These include the marital status of the parents – having divorced parents favors divorce, the age at which the partners married, the length of the marriage, their level of education, religious beliefs, their culture, alcoholism, the onset of diseases. There appears to be more divorces in periods of prosperity when women feel they can more easily get financial support or earn a better income themselves.

Key moments for divorces are after the third year of marriage, after the partners are 40 years old when women are looking for younger partners and relationships in which sex is a major component and, increasingly, at retirement.

A result of divorces is children being brought up in mono-parental families led by a woman. Mono-parental families led by men are extremely rare.

Fifteen percent of children in Europe grow up in a mono-parental family.

Divorce is a disaster in many ways: financially with a sharp drop in net worth, social support leading to health problems and children tend to have poorer results at school.

For young children, the divorce of their parents is incomprehensible. There is also a loyalty conflict that should not exist and that parents should dispel by showing that the parents have divorced, but the family still exists.

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