Divorce rate up in 2005

Compared to 2004, the number of divorces in the Netherlands rose by nearly 2 thousand to 33 thousand in 2005. Incompatibility of characters and infidelity are most frequently mentioned as reasons for divorce. One in five divorced women state that physical violence was the main reason for marriage breakdown. The same ratio of women mention alcohol and drug abuse as reason for divorce.

Divorces, 1995–2005

Increase in number of divorces

The number of divorces increased in 2005 for the first time in many years. In 2005 nearly 33 thousand marriages ended in divorce, 2 thousand more than in 2004. In previous years, the number of divorces fell from 37 thousand in 2001 to 31 thousand in 2004. The decrease is largely counterbalanced by an increase in the number of divorces according to an accelerated procedure (so-called flash annulments). Provisional figures show that there were as many flash annulments in 2005 as in 2004. An upward trend was recorded in the total number of divorces as well as in the number of flash annulments.

Reasons for divorce


Incompatibility of characters

Research shows that nearly four in ten divorced persons report infidelity or incompatibility of characters was the reason for their marriage breakdown. An equal amount of men and women identify these reasons as the cause of marital dissolution. Other grounds for divorce specified by the respondents are that husband and wife are bored with each other or their plans for the future diverge. Men slightly more often mention these reasons than women. Women (nearly 20 percent) much more often than men (1 or 2 percent) mention physical violence and/or problems caused by alcohol and drug abuse as grounds for divorce.

Contact ex-partners in first year after divorce

Post-divorce contact

If there are children still living at home, this is usually a reason for ex-partners to stay in touch. If there are no children involved, four in ten ex-partners cut all ties in the first year after the dissolution of their marriage. Only two in ten ex-partners with children cut all ties. Remarkably, the relationship between ex-partners with children is often poor. One in three divorced mothers and fathers confirm this. Half of ex-partners have reasonable or good contact with each other, irrespective of whether they have children or not.

Arie de Graaf