Couples bypassing separation and going straight to divorce

April 1st, 2015

This article is more than 8 years old.

Law change in 2013 precipitates huge increase

Danes are opting for divorce over separation (Photo: Vic)

Couples breaking up are going straight to divorce and skipping the legal separation option. Since 2013, it has been possible to file for divorce without first taking the legal separation step.

New figures from state administrator Statsforvaltningen suggest that Danish divorce habits are changing.

Last year, 5,511 couples took the legal separation route, while 21,158 chose divorce. In 2012, before the law was changed allowing couples to tick the divorce option right away, 13,359 couples separated, while 14,994 were divorced.

Nothing really new
However, a therapist and divorce expert, Mette Haulund Hinnerskov, does not think there has been a change in Danish divorce habits, but more a change in perception.

“On paper, it looks like things have changed, but divorce habits are the same – it is just that the law is better suited to what people want,” Hinnerskov told Jyllands-Posten.

Prolonging the inevitable
Hinnerskov said the enforced separation period was intended to be a time of “reflection” for couples considering divorce, but that most couples had already thought a long time before deciding to end their marriage.

“The moment you sit down at the keyboard to fill out separation papers you are so far in the process you have probably made a final decision,” said Hinnerskov.

Hinnerskov said that a separation period is often more painful than simply getting a divorce because it creates false hope and prolongs a painful process.

“If both parties have some doubt and are communicating, there is still some hope that the marriage could work,” Hinnerskov.

“If not, it is a stupid and very bad idea.”


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