What is the Divorce Rate in Spain?

When you think about Spain, because it is a Catholic country, you may think the divorce rate is low. In fact, the divorce rate in Spain is the highest in Europe with three out of every four Spanish marriages now ending in divorce.

The divorce rate in Spain has actually risen since the Spanish government pushed through a new law called the ‘express divorce’ law, which allows Spaniards to get divorced much easier and with no fault divorces being common. Previous to this, it was almost impossible to get a divorce, so Spaniards would end up in what was called a ‘Spanish divorce’, meaning the couple was still legally married but lived apart, often with other people.

The failing economy in Spain has also added to the high divorce rate in the country. Finances are often one reason marriages have problems and now that the economy in Spain is so bad, with 25 percent of all Spaniards unemployed, finances are negatively affecting marriages even more.

There are, of course, two sides to the story. Some more traditional Spaniards decry the high divorce rate saying it is destroying Spanish values and morals. Many others though are happy they can now get divorced as, before, there were hundreds of thousands of Spaniards trapped in unhappy marriages and simply unable to legally escape.

The highest divorce rate is usually in the over 40s, who have been married at least 15 years and have decided, for whatever reason, the marriage is now over. Spain’s Princess Elena, daughter of King Juan Carlos, even divorced in 2009 after two years of separation from her husband, Jaime de Marichalar, a Spanish banker.