Divorces increase in Spain in 2014

The last year Spain has experienced An increase in divorces: they have increased by 5.6 percent in 2014, to reach 100,746 in the twelve months. As regards the separations and nullities, these grew 2.7 percent, adding 5,034 in the first case and 113 nullities, according to INE figures known this week.

In this way, dthe total number of ruptures that occurred during 2014 in Spain, the vast majority have been forever: 95.7 percent have been divorces, while a 4.8 have been separations and there has been only 0.1 percent of marriage annulments.

Mutual agreement

The figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) also show that the majority (76.5 percent) of divorces and separations in 2014 were by mutual agreement, while the remaining 23.5 percent was through litigation.

These marriages ended after a while together, but how much? According to INE data, lThe average length of marriages until the date of sentencing was 15.8 years, a figure similar to that of the previous year, 2013. In particular, the divorce ruptures had previously lasted 15.4 years, while those who separated had together an average of 22.2 years. On the other hand, the average time elapsed between the marriage and the declaration of nullity was 7.4 years.

Although these are middle ages, it stands out that 30 percent (that is, one in ten) of the divorces occurred after 20 years of marriage, while 23.5 percent only took between six and ten years. In the case of separations, the majority (53.5 percent) had lasted more than 20 years, and 13.3 percent between six and 10 years.

As regards the duration of the procedures for breaking up marriages, this was placed in 4.4 months, slightly lower than in 2013, which was 4.5 months. In separations, the average duration (3.2 months) was shorter than in divorces (4.5 months).

Age of marriage breakdown

The oldest number of divorces and separations in 2014 between spouses of different sex took place in the age groupBetween 40 and 49 years, Both men and women. The average age of the women was 42.8 years (42.6 years in the divorces, 48.2 in the separations and 39.7 in the nullities). In the case of men, the average age was 45.3 years (45.0 years in divorces, 50.7 in separations and 44.0 in nullities). These average ages were similar to those recorded in 2013.

As regards the origin of the people who have broken their marriage, 83.7% of the total of divorces registered in 2014 took place between spouses of Spanish nationality. In 10.6% of the spouses were foreigners and in 5.7% both spouses were foreigners. Considering the marital status of the spouses when they contracted the marriage, most were single. In the case of males, 6.4% were divorced and 0.4% were widowed. Among women, 7.2% were divorced and 0.6% were widows.

Couples with children

Much is said about how marital breakups affect children. In this line, it stands out that 42.6% of the marriages corresponding to separation or divorce sentences did not have children, a figure similar to that of the previous year. Even so, the majority (48.1%) had minor children, while 4.3% only had economically dependent adult children and 5.1% dependent children and minors.

27.2% of cases of ruptures had only one child (minor or major dependent), while in 57.8% of the cases alimony was assigned, a figure similar to that of the previous year (57.2%). In this regard, the figures of the INE show that in 78.3% of the cases the payment of alimony corresponded to the father (81.5% in 2013), in 4.6% to the mother (4.8%) % in the previous year) and 17.1% to both spouses (13.7% in 2013).

A point that usually generates debate in the ruptures is who will take care of the children. In this aspect, the custody of the minor children was granted to the mother in 73.1% of the cases, a figure lower than that observed in the previous year (76.2%). In 5.3% of the processes the custody was obtained by the father (compared to 5.5% in 2013), while in 21.2% it was shared, a percentage higher than the 17.9% of the previous year and which goes consistent with most separations and divorces by mutual agreement.

Likewise, in 0.4 percent of the cases the children were awarded to other institutions or relatives. It is also worth mentioning that in 10.0% of the sentences a compensatory pension was established, of which in 92.2% of the cases the payment of this was assigned to the husband.

Where there were more breaks

In Spain, the rate of nullities, separations and divorces per 1,000 inhabitants was 2.3 in 2014. The highest figures were found in the autonomous city of Ceuta (2.8), Cataluña (2.6) and Canarias (2.6).

On the opposite side, those regions with fewer marital breakdowns, are Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, and Extremadura, all with 1.8 ruptures per 1,000 inhabitants.

Express divorce

These data are very worrying for family associations. In fact, the president of the Institute of Family Policy, Eduardo Hertfelder, has attributed the increase of the ruptures to "the law of express divorce and the exit of the economic crisis ".

In the opinion of this representative of the families, this increase in divorces is a "logical consequence" of the divorce regulation approved in 2005 by the Zapatero government. "Indeed, the fact that today the divorce can be resolved at the request of only one of the parties, without needing to justify its decision and immediately, it is causing the ruptures to increase. It is a law that what it does is favor the rupture, and therefore, increase family breakdown instead of decreasing it", has criticized.

Hertfelder also believes that the increase in ruptures may have something to do with the economic recovery. "The growth of the ruptures had only stalled during the economic crisis and once this is being overcome, people start breaking up the family again. There is no doubt that the outcome of the crisis is behind the increase in the number of couples taking the step that a divorce entails, "he lamented.

In this sense, he recalled that talking about marriage breakups is "talk about dramas, personal failures and human tears, in particular of children", for which he has criticized that the administrations" have not done anything to solve this problem or, at least, to cushion it. "This expert concluded by saying that Spain" is becoming an unstructured society. "

Education against ruptures

For the president of the Family Forum, Mariano Calabuig, the real problem when talking about marital breakdowns is the "awareness and education "of people, to which is added that "there are very permissive laws" that also facilitate the breakup of couples.

Calabuig has joined Hertfelder's complaint about the express divorce rule, which he has dismissed as "unfair "and that leaves" defenseless "the contracting party" who does not want to separate ", by allowing a divorce to be filed unilaterally by one of the partners.

For Calabuig, the words of Pope Francis when it says there people who get married without being prepared they are "very successful", because in their opinion there are those who decide to get married "without being prepared for any confrontation, or to reconcile characters". He has also quoted the Pontiff to remember and insist that the basis of marriage is in three words: "permission, thanks and forgiveness".

Angela R. Bonachera

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