Singapore

Divorces up, marriages down

Department of Statistics figures for 2015

There were fewer wedding bells and more couples splitting up last year, according to Department of Statistics data released yesterday.

A total of 28,322 couples wed last year, a slight drop from the year before, when marriages hit a five-decade high of 28,407.

There were 7,522 divorces and annulments last year, a 2.9 per cent increase from 2014, and the third-highest annual figure on record.

Marriages also did not last as long, with the median marriage duration for divorces in 2015 at 10 years, slightly shorter than the 10.4 years in 2014 and 10.6 years in 2010.

More than half (53.7 per cent) of plaintiffs in civil divorces cited "unreasonable behaviour" as the main reason for divorce, while 42.6 per cent cited "having lived apart or separated for three years or more". In 61.6 per cent of the cases, the divorce was initiated by the woman.

Among Muslim divorces in 2015, "infidelity or extra-marital affair" was the top reason for divorcing, accounting for more than one in five divorces.

The second-most common reason for divorce was "desertion" for male plaintiffs, and "financial problems" for female plaintiffs.

There was also a shift in the age profile of divorcees, with an increase in the number of older couples getting divorced.

The median age at divorce was 42.9 for men and 38.8 for women last year, up from 41 years and 37.4 years, respectively, in 2010.

More people chose to marry later, with the median age at first marriage rising from 30 years in 2010 to 30.3 years for grooms last year, and from 27.7 years to 28.2 years for brides.

Among first marriages, grooms being older than brides was still the norm. However, the proportion had dropped to 66.8 per cent in 2015, from 73.7 per cent a decade ago.

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, writing in his ministry's blog MSF Conversations yesterday, noted the slight increase in the number of divorces and encouraged couples to stay committed in their marriages.

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