Recently, Statistics Singapore released its report on Marriages and Divorce 2015. We dug through the report and came to 4 conclusions:
1. Women are more impatient when it comes to divorce
A total of 53.7% of plaintiffs in civil divorces cited ‘unreasonable behavior’ as the main reason for divorce. However, interestingly, the main reason for divorce differs for each gender. For females, ‘unreasonable behavior’ was the most commonly cited reason, accounting for 59.9% of female divorcees; but for males, ‘having lived apart or separated for 3 years or more’ was the main reason used, accounting for 51.6% of male divorcees, with . This may just indicate that there are different driving forces for a divorce for different genders.
It seems that females are generally more impatient in seeing through a divorce. By relying on the justification of ‘unreasonable behaviour’ of her spouse, she need not wait for 3 years to commence the divorce. On the other hand, the majority of male divorcees are willing to wait out the 3 or 4 years of separation to effect the divorce, possibly indicating an openness to reconciliation during the waiting period. It is interesting to observe that different genders may have different perspectives towards a divorce. But of course, these are just speculations as there may be other reasons that more females choose to divorce for ‘unreasonable behaviour’.
2. More are getting divorced
In 2015, the total number of marriage dissolutions (including divorces and annulments) was 7,522, which was 2.9% more than the 7,307 dissolutions in 2014. For divorces alone, there was a slight increase in divorce rate. For every thousand married males, there were 7.1 male divorcees in 2015, up from 7.0 in 2014. Similarly, the divorce rate increased from 6.0 to 6.5 for females over the same period.
3. Marriages that ended up with divorce lasted for a shorter duration
The median marriage duration for divorces in 2015 was 10.3 years, which is a fall from 10.5 years in 2014. Within civil divorces (as opposed to Muslim ones), the largest group of divorcees were married between 5 to 9 years, accounting for 31.5% of all civil divorces.
4. The age at which people decide to divorce is increasing significantly
Amongst males, the proportion of divorcees above the age of 45 increased from 30% in 2005 to 42.4% in 2015. Similarly, for females, the proportion of those who divorced at the age of 45 and above was 27.5% in 2015, up from 20.1% in 2005. These increases are part of the trend of steadily increasing median age of divorcees since 2004.
However, this may be unsurprising given that the median age of marriage has been rising as well. The median age for grooms rose from 29.8 years in 2005 to 30.3 years in 2015, while that for brides rose from 26.9 to 28.2 years over the same period. Hence it is only logical that with later marriages come later divorces.
It is probably not a healthy sign that marriages are lasting for a shorter time before more people decide to divorce. A divorce can have wide-ranging economic, emotional and social implications on the couple, their children and the society at large. Hence it is imperative that couples are provided with the necessary resources and help when their marriage deteriorates, so that divorce can be avoided as far as possible. In fact, you may want to explore divorce mediation services before commencing a divorce. If you need advice on your marriage or are considering divorce, you may want to approach one of our experienced divorce lawyers.