Divorce is as present in our lives as marriages, births and funerals. That wasn’t always like that. People married for life and usually stayed that way, even if they were thoroughly unhappy. Nowadays you probably know a lot of people who are divorced. Thankfully marriages are still more common, though.
Let’s have a look at a few facts about divorce that you probably didn’t know. Whilst listed from 1 to 20, the list does not have a particular order.
- Approximately 100 divorces are finalized every hour in the United States.
- The most expensive divorce ever is estimated to have cost Alec Wildenstein $2.5 Billion (that his ex-wife Jocelyn Wildenstein received).
- After discovering his wife of 77 years had an affair in the 1940s, a 99-year old man divorced his 97-year old wife.
- The only U.S. President known to have been divorced and then elected into office is Ronald Reagan.
- When Einstein received his Nobel Prize money it went straight to his ex-wife, who received it as part of her divorce settlement. That is usually not what this money is intended for.
- A couple from Bosnia divorced in 2007 when they discovered that they each had an online affair. Trouble was: they had the affair with each other under fake names. Clearly they were meant for each other.
- It would appear that statistically speaking: the more money you spent on your wedding, the likelier you are to get divorced.
- Three times is the charm in Islam: a man may divorce his wife three times, but can take her back after the first two times.
- A history lesson: Chaldea was a small Semitic nation that existed in the first half of the first millennium B.C. If a man wished to divorce his wife, he only needed to write a letter to her father saying “Thou are not my wife”. If ever the wife would have said “Thou are not my husband”, she would have been drowned immediately or as soon as a large enough body of water could be located. Thankfully times have changed.
- The Philippines are now the only country in the world where divorce is illegal. Even if a couple is divorced outside the country, it will not be recognized when they return to the Philippines. Needless to say that there are campaigns to make divorce legal.
- Divorce made easy in Ancient Rome: a couple only needed to state their intent to no longer live together in front of seven witnesses and the deed was done. Women were entitled to receive the full dowry back unless they were found to have cheated. In that case they would only get half their dowry back. Divorce was pretty common, especially among members of upper classes.
- The 7-year itch is real: first marriages that end in divorce last on average 8 years. It usually takes a year for a divorce to be finalized; meaning around the 7-year mark divorce is first entertained as an option.
- The United States has the highest divorce rate per 1000 people in the world.
- Bringing your mother to your honeymoon is not a good idea. An Italian man did just that in 2012. His new wife asked for a divorce three weeks later.
- Marriage vs. Social Media: in the US Facebook was mentioned in a third of all divorce filings in 2011. In Italy it’s WhatsApp that has been mentioned in half the divorce proceedings. What has social media ever done to cause a divorce?
- Apparently the youngest girl ever to get a divorce was only 10 years old. It’s not known how old the youngest boy was ever to divorce. Unfortunately child brides are as much a reality as child grooms, at least in some parts of the world.
- A Swedish study found that people commuting to work for 45 minutes or longer are more likely to divorce. Londoners beware!
- To drink or not to drink: men are much more likely to abuse alcohol after getting divorced, whereas women are much more likely to abstain after a divorce.
- Whilst men are more likely to gain weight after a divorce, a divorce actually becomes more likely if one partner gains 20% or more in body weight during their marriage. So, eat healthy and exercise. Getting married is no reason to let yourself go.
- Have you heard of the Aleutian Islands? They are high up in the Northern Pacific and belong to both the US and Russia. Back in the day a man could barter his wife for food and clothes if he grew tired of her. It’s not known what a woman did, if she felt similarly about her man.
And there you have it. Now you know more weird divorce facts than you ever wanted to know. Hopefully it’ll be of some use in a game of Trivia Pursuit one day.