General objectives that guide the activities and relationships of one state in its interactions with other states.

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Divorce Across the World – What’s it Like in These 4 Nations?

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It’s fair to describe the current divorce laws in the UK as being archaic, particularly from the perspective of a progressive society. This is set to change from 2020, however, when the legislation will change to introduce “no fault” divorces that remove unnecessary conflict and antagonism between parties.

While this is great news for spouses across the length and breadth of the UK, it’s fair to say that divorce laws vary significantly across the globe.

We’ll explore this further below, by considering four countries that have very different outlooks on the notion of divorce.

1. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka currently has one of the lowest rates of divorce in the world, with an estimated 0.46 separations recorded for every 1,000 marriages. But is this indicative of a location where marital harmony reigns supreme?

The short answer is no, as this low rate of divorce is underpinned by prohibitive laws that cause huge amounts of anxiety and agony for couples who choose to go through the process.

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The issue is so bad that Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court recently called for an overhaul of the nation’s divorce laws, which are deemed to be unfit for purpose and designed purely for the purpose of perpetuating marriages and the illusion of healthy family values.

This means that couples who file for divorce are met with numerous obstacles, while the ultimate decision regarding their separation is to take out of their hands and passed directly to a judge.

2. Russia 

Conversely, Russia is a country with a high divorce rate, with the ratio of separation to new marriages fixed at 1 to 1:6 as recently as 2016.

This means that divorce has become more popular than marriage in recent times, and this is at least partially due to the presence of relatively liberal laws that apply nationwide.

Interestingly, the prominence of divorce in Russia is also attributed to the fact that citizens tend to get married much younger here, with immaturity and a lack of financial security undermining even positive love matches.

Russia is also thought to provide challenging living conditions, which compounds the issue facing young couples and intensifies the pressure facing them.

3. Cuba

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Cuba is another nation with a relatively high divorce rate, with 11.03 separations recorded for every 1,000 married people.

Now, this is arguably the result of incredibly liberal divorce laws, which enables separations to be concluded in just 20 minutes in some instances. This is an incredibly short period of time, particularly if you’ve ever got divorced. You can check out companies such as Withers for more information.

This is where the situation gets a little more complicated in Cuba, however, as here the state controls virtually all property whilst there’s a significant housing shortage nationwide.

So, even though couples can get divorced incredibly easily, they may be forced to live together as a couple long after the papers have been signed, creating the potential for huge dysfunction and potential animosity after the fact.

4. Singapore

We close with Singapore, which has seen its divorce rate decline of late even as the number of confirmed marriages has increased.

So, even as the number of civil and Muslim marriages increased by 0.9% to 28,212 in 2017, there have been fewer partnerships that have ended in divorce during the same period.

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This may have something to do with the slightly complex divorce process in Singapore, which involves two arduous steps and can be either contested or uncontested. The first stage sees the courts deal directly with the termination of the marriage, before dealing with Ancillary matters including the division of marital assets, custody of the children and any due maintenance payments from one spouse to the other.

Before this, you also need to determine whether or not you even qualify for a divorce in Singapore, and this can be challenging enough by itself.



Peter is a freelance writer with more than eight years of experience covering topics in politics. He was one of the guys that were here when the foreignpolicyi.org started.

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