Rome: The divorce rate in Italy increased by 60% in 2020, according to Italy’s National Divorce Association (l’Associazione nazionale divorzisti italiani)
“The requests for separation have increased a lot, mainly due to forced coexistence,” the association’s president, family laywer Matteo Santini, told Sky TG24.
In 40 percent of cases, the divorces were due to the fact that lockdown made it more difficult to hide infidelity and “double lives”, lawyers said.
Another 30 percent of separations were due to domestic violence, and the remaining 30 percent were listed as being down to other causes.
“It’s one thing to share weekends and evenings but another to share the whole day, with all the problems related to the health emergency: health stress due to illness, lack of work, living with children with difficulties related to distance learning,” Santini said.
“This causes an emotional explosion that leads to the desire for separation and the request for separation.”
As with many sets of statistics in Italy, there was a marked difference between the north and south of the country.
There were more than twice as many separations recorded in the north in 2020, with 450 per thousand couples in the north, and 200 in southern Italy.
Italy, where more than 80 percent of people describe themselves as Catholic, has long had one of Europe’s lowest divorce rates, with only Ireland, Slovenia, and Malta reporting lower figures.
Divorce numbers in the country however surged in 2015 after the enactment of legislation making it easier and quicker to end failed marriages.
Several Italian studies have confirmed that the pandemic and subsequent economic crisis is having a major impact on families, with national statistics agency Istat finding that Italy’s already record-low birth rate was plunging even further due to “the climate of fear and uncertainty and the growing difficulties linked to employment and income generated by recent events.”