12 Interesting Facts About Divorce Around the World

Published: 02nd July 2009
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* In ancient Athens, divorce was freely permitted. However, the person seeking divorce has to submit their request to a magistrate who then decided whether the reasons for the request were sufficient.

* Malta does not permit divorce under the law of the country. Separation and annulment are permitted under the Civil Code and the Marriage Act respectively.

* In Ireland, divorce was prohibited until 1997. A referendum in 1995 repealed the law prohibiting divorce, and it came into effect two years later. This was after a referendum in 1986 ended in the prohibition being maintained.

* Divorce is statistically more common when the marriage was preceded by a premarital pregnancy or birth. This is because couples feel pressured into marrying, and eventually accept that they married for the wrong reasons.

* Divorce is only permissible in the United Kingdom if the marriage is judged to have irretrievably broken down. However, this criterion can be satisfied in a number of ways: adultery, unreasonable behavior, two years of separation (consenting) or desertion (where one spouse has been absent without response) or five years of non-consenting separation.

* In 2004, the Ontario Court of Appeal declared a portion of its Divorce Act unconstitutional, as it excluded same-sex marriages. The plaintiffs in the case, a lesbian couple, successfully argued for an amendment to the act, which allowed them to divorce.

* In Italy, divorce was illegal until 1974 as a result of the influence of the Catholic Church. Indeed, divorce is still illegal in the Vatican City. The illegality of divorce had an influence on the film industry, with the different ways of leaving a spouse explored in films such as Divorce, Italian Style.

* The legal status of divorce in Argentina has been interesting and varied over the last century and beyond. Attempts were made to legalize divorce in 1888, but the bill was repeatedly blocked by conservative groups influenced by the Catholic Church. In 1954, a secular president by the name of Juan Domingo Perón legalized divorce. One year later, however, a coup forced him from power, and the military government repealed the law. Only in 1987 was it passed for good, by means of a compromise which saw parts of the Church state that the right did not apply to Catholics. Other parts remained furious at the passing of the law, and threatened to excommunicate members of parliament who hated voted for the new law. One bishop carried through on this threat with regard to Congress members under his jurisdiction.

* Along with Malta and the Vatican, the Philippines is the only other country not to allow divorce in any legal circumstances.

* Zsa Zsa Gabor once said "I am an excellent housekeeper. Every time I get divorced, I keep the house!"

* Divorce is rarer in times of economic stress for a couple. Rather than letting their difficulties split them up, couples are more likely to turn their attentions to seeing through the hard times. However, couples who suffer the death of a child are disproportionately likely to separate.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

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