Dutch judges disposed of 32.6 thousand divorce cases in 2005. This is 5 percent more than in 2004. Children were involved in just over six out of ten divorces. The number of divorces within five years of marriage has halved in the last ten years.
One quarter divorce after twenty years of marriage
Nearly one in four marriages annulled in 2005 had lasted between five and ten years. One in four couples pronounced divorced last year had even been married for twenty years or longer.
Divorces by marriage duration, 2005
Fewer short marriages
The number of divorces within five years of marriage has halved in the last ten years. This is because more and more couples live together for a time before getting married, as a sort of test period before actual marriage. These relationships are sometimes broken off before the couple get married.
Flash divorce: no judge required
So-called flash divorces are also relevant in this respect. A flash divorce is when a marriage is converted to a registered partnership, which may then be annulled without a court being involved. There were 4.7 thousand of these divorces in 2005. In one third of these divorces the marriages had lasted for less than five years.
More than half of children younger than 10 years old
Underage children were affected by 20 thousand divorces pronounced in 2005. This is just over 61 percent of all divorces. Parents of a total of 36 thousand underage children divorced in 2005. One in five of these children was under the age of 5 when their parents divorced, one in three were aged between 5 and 9 years old.
Divorces by number of underage children, 2005
Most children stay with mother
In nearly nine out of ten divorces the parental authority of both parents remains in force. Both parents have the right and the obligation to care for the children, to bring them up and to serve their interests.
Most children stay with their mother after a divorce: in 80 percent of divorces. After 10 percent of divorces the children live with their father and 4 percent of ex-couples opt for co-parenthood, where the children live with their father as well as their mother. A small number of children live independently or live with someone else, for example other relatives, a foster family or a home.
Underage children involved in divorce by age, 2005
Nic Steenbrink and Arno Sprangers