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Divorce figures in France

divorce detective statistics investigations
Divorce figures in France

How many divorces are there in France? Who divorces more men or women? What is the most used divorce procedure? At what age are the most divorces? What are the main causes of divorce?...

Divorce in France is more widespread than you might think. So, what are the official figures on this matter? PROCAP DETECTIVE invites you to take stock of the latest statistics on divorce…

In France, the number of divorces changes from one year to the next. On average, nearly 130,000 divorces are granted each year . The number of people getting divorced is around 260,000.

When do we divorce most?

Far from being an exception, divorce affects almost half of married couples. In fact, 45% of registered marriages end in divorce. We can therefore say that one marriage in two ends in divorce.

Even if it affects couples of all ages or all lengths of life together, the greatest proportion of divorces takes place among couples with between 5 and 15 years of married life. It is at 5/6 years of living together that the divorce rate is highest.

The divorce rate is an indicator listing the number of divorces per 1000 registered marriages. It is representative of the propensity for divorce of a given population group. In France this ratio is 1.6 divorces per 1000 marriages in the first year of living together, and reaches a peak of 15 divorces per 1000 marriages between 5 and 15 years, before slowly falling again. It would therefore seem that divorce is lower in the first year of marriage and after 20 years of union, more than at any other period of married life. More people divorce after 5 years of marriage than within one year or after 20 years of living together. Couples whose marriage duration is between 5 and 15 years are therefore statistically the most exposed to divorce.

Where do people divorce the most?

The divorce rate is not evenly distributed across the country. On the contrary, statistics on the subject indicate large regional disparities, and within them, between departments or cities. In France, there are more divorces in urban areas than in rural areas, and the Ile-de-France, Paca and Occitanie regions record more divorces than the Centre-Val-de-Loire or Brittany regions.

Paris, Vaucluse, Gard, Alpes-Maritimes, Haute-Garonne, Rhône and Bouches-du-Rhône, Nord-Pas-de-Calais record the highest divorce rates, while Lozère, Côtes-d'Armor and Cantal have the lowest rates.

Across Europe as a whole, France occupies an average position. The podium in the divorce rate is occupied by the Nordic or Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania); while there are fewer divorces in Hungary, Slovakia or Poland. France holds a perfectly median rank among all European countries.

What is the most used divorce procedure?

If divorce by mutual consent without a judge represents more than half of divorces (55%) , it is 30% for “divorce for acceptance of the principle of the breakdown of the marriage” (art.233 and 234 of the CC); 10% for divorce for definitive alteration of the marital bond (art. 237 and 238 of the CC), and 7% for divorce for fault (art. 242 of the CC).

While divorce by consent has experienced strong growth since its introduction in 2005, divorce for fault is the form of divorce which has seen the greatest decline over the years and reforms, going from 40% of divorce cases to early 2000s to only 7% today. The deconflictualization of divorce procedures, relegating contentious procedures to the background, is an underlying trend which has experienced three major historical accelerators: in 2005 with the introduction of divorce by consent; in 2017 by the possibility of divorce without a judge; and finally in 2021 by the major reform of the civil procedure code which makes the deconflictualization of breakups one of the sought-after objectives.

How long does a divorce last?

In France, the "average" duration of an amicable divorce (by mutual consent) is 7 months , compared to 26 months for a divorce with a judge.

The main causes of divorce

When it comes to the causes of divorce, infidelity comes first.

Indeed, 30% of divorces are caused, directly or indirectly, by confessed or hidden infidelity , followed by domestic violence and abusive behavior (addictions, jealousy). This top trio is followed by couple incompatibilities (project, future, children's education), money problems, work and finally in-laws.

Who are the divorced?

Demographically, it is women in the overwhelming majority (75%) who initiate divorce.

The average age of divorce for women is 44 years , and 42 years for men.

8% of French families are blended families, and 1.6 million children live in a blended family. 18% of minor children live in a single-parent type structure (only one parent).

Regarding court decisions relating to child custody, in 70% of cases , the child's residence is entrusted to the mother, compared to 15% for fathers. Alternate residence only concerns 15% of children (480,000 children).


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