Divorce Around The World

As the world evolves and moves at a perpetually hastened pace, the divorce rate is becoming more commonplace in countries that have traditionally seen low numbers. Reasons for this vary, but a primary factor is the increasingly economic independence and empowerment of women. Because they are no longer forced to rely on their husbands for survival, more and more women are choosing to opt out of bad marriages.

Many governments around the world are implementing outreach programs to try to stem the tide of divorce. Here is a snapshot of three countries, the United States, Russia and China, and how each countries government is tackling the issue of divorce.


United States

In 2011, there were 2.8 divorces for every 1,000 people in the United States, according to United Nations statistics. In the United States, divorce falls under the jurisdiction of each state, not the federal government. As such, divorce laws vary by state, and it’s up to each state whether or not they choose to define ways to help reduce their respective divorce rate.

For example, in North Carolina, where there were 36,346 divorces in 2012, lawmakers have introduced the “Healthy Marriage Act” bill that would require couples to live together for a two-year period, undergo counseling and, if applicable, complete a course on how divorce impacts children. Domestic violence advocates have voiced objections, citing safety concerns, which is one reason why the law hasn’t gone into effect yet. It will likely undergo changes before a vote in order to address the issue of victims of violence. However, since there is no timeline available, anyone seeking a divorce in Cary, NC or looking to speak with a Raleigh divorce attorney should address the potential impact the “Healthy Marriage Act” might have in future proceedings.


The divorce rate in China has skyrocketed right along with its economic progress, and it has officials there worried. Family in China, just as in other countries, is viewed as critical to maintaining social order and structure. In Beijing alone, however, the divorce rate jumped from 11,582 to 21,013 between 2004 and 2010. Across the country, 1.96 million couples filed for divorce in 2010. That’s an increase of 14.5 percent from just the previous year.

The government has come up with innovative ways to try to combat the rising number of divorces. In September 2011, they launched the “Love Post” program. Newlyweds are able to write love letters to one another and drop them off at the post office. The letters will then be mailed seven years from the day they were married. The idea of the program is to fight the ‘seven year itch’ that seems to doom many couples.

Another effort underway is the use of so-called marriage doctors in Beijing to intervene and try to help save relationships. The Family Harmony Project was established in Shanghai to recruit marriage doctors and nurses for the same purpose.


It’s the largest country in the world, and it has the highest divorce rate in the world, too. The United Nations report shows that there were 4.7 divorces registered for every 1,000 people in Russia in 2011. The Russian government isn’t taking it lightly either. In 2013, it was announced that they are considering raising their ‘divorce tax’ from about 400 rubles, or $13 US dollars, to 30,000 rubles, or about $100 US dollars. A final decision has yet to be made, but if it is put in place, divorce will become a non-option for many married couples. Why? The average monthly salary in Russia is only about 27,000 rubles, which means that it would cost more than one month’s wages just to file for a divorce.

It’s clear that divorce is an international concern. Many countries, as well as individual states, are putting great effort into reducing the number of divorces. Each tactic is different, of course, but the end goal of each country remains the same – to preserve the integrity of the family unit wherever possible.

Mounier, A. 2013, Divorce Around The World.

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