In 2009 there were 85,945 separations and 54,456 divorces, an increase of 2.1 and 0.2% respectively on the previous year. These increases, especially in the case of divorces, were much smaller than those recorded between 2007 and 2008 (3.4% for separations and 7.3% for divorces).
As is generally known, the two phenomena are constantly increasing: 158 separations and 80 divorces per 1,000 marriages were recorded in 1995, while in 2009 the figures had reached 297 separations and 181 divorces.
The average duration of marriages at the time of separation/divorce proceedings being filed is 15 years for separations and 18 years for divorces.
The average age at separation is around 45 for husbands and 41 for wives; for divorce this rises to 47 and 43 respectively. These figures have increased over the years both as result of the drastic fall in separations below the age of 30 – due in large part to the postponement of marriage until more mature ages – and to the increase in separations with at least one spouse aged over sixty.
The type of proceeding mainly chosen by couples is consensual separation: in 2009, 85.6% of separations and 72.1% of divorces ended by mutual consent.
66.4% of separations and 60.7% of divorces involved couples with children born during their marriage. Until 2005, sole custody of minors was mainly awarded to the mother. In 2006 Law 54/2006 introduced the provision of joint custody of minor children as an ordinary procedure and had very clear consequences both for separations and divorces. In 2009, 86.2% of separations with children were with joint custody, as opposed to 12.2% in which custody of the children was awarded exclusively to the mother.