Divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, is the process of terminating a marriage or marital union. It usually entails the canceling or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, thus dissolving the bonds of matrimony between a married couple under the rule of law of the particular country or state. Divorce laws vary considerably around the world, but in most countries divorce requires the sanction of a court or other authority in a legal process, which may involve issues of distribution of property, child custody, alimony (spousal support), child visitation / access, parenting time, child support, and division of debt. In most countries, monogamy is required by law, so divorce allows each former partner to marry another person; where polygyny is legal but polyandry is not, divorce allows the woman to marry another person.
Divorce should not be confused with annulment, which declares the marriage null and void, with legal separation or de jure separation (a legal process by which a married couple may formalize a de facto separation while remaining legally married) or with de facto separation (a process where the spouses informally stop cohabiting). Reasons for divorce vary, from sexual incompatibility or lack of independence for one or both spouses to a personality clash.
The only countries that do not allow divorce are the Philippines, the Vatican City and the British Crown Dependency of Sark. In the Philippines, divorce for non-Muslim Filipinos is not legal unless the husband or wife is an alien and satisfies certain conditions. The Vatican City is an ecclesiastical state, which has no procedure for divorce. Countries that have relatively recently legalized divorce are Italy (1970), Portugal (1975), Brazil (1977), Spain (1981), Argentina (1987), Paraguay (1991), Colombia (1991*), Andorra (1995), Ireland (1996), Chile (2004) and Malta (2011).
1. According to Statistics South Africa (Marriages and Divorces, Statistics South Africa, 2012), 11 475 (54,7%) of the 20 980 divorces had children younger than 18 years.
2. The proportions of divorces with children were quite high among the coloured population group (64,4%), Indians/Asians (57,8%) and the black Africans (57,1%).
3. The distribution of the number of children affected by divorce shows that 37,4% were from the black African population group; 27,1% from the white population group and 20,2% from the coloured population group.
4. There were 18 571 children (younger than 18 years old) involved in divorce indicating that, on average, there was between one and two children per divorce.
5. In total, in 2011, about 18 571 children were affected by divorces that took place in 2011. As these statistics were drawn only from the registration in 2011, not all divorces are even published and calculated in these statistics.