Crisis sees fall in divorces rather than rise

Despite research and surveys indicating there was likely to be an increase in the number of divorces in Greece to as a result of the economic crisis, figures obtained by Kathimerini actually shows that they have fallen over the last few years, with some experts attributing this to the fact that the instability is putting people off the idea of being single parents.

According to records kept by the City of Athens?s registry office, divorces have decreased by about 25 percent over the last five years. In 2006, there were 1,579 divorces recorded. This fell slightly in 2009 and dipped to 1,149 last year, when the government first began adopting austerity measures to combat its debt problems.

?Initially it looked as if the crisis was going to lead couples to court,? lawyer Rena Stravolaimou, who specializes in family law, told Kathimerini. ?There was a small rise in the number of divorces in early 2009 but since then the number of cases has dropped steadily.?

Stravolaimou suggests that the court and legal costs have played a part in putting couples off the idea of divorce, as has the prospect of living on their own and raising a child.

?When children are involved, things can become very difficult,? she said. ?Fewer women are deciding to raise children on their own, which is understandable given the economic insecurity at the moment. Husbands and fathers, meanwhile, want to avoid having to pay child support and alimony.?

The crisis also seems to have had an impact on the type of wedding that couples choose when they get married. A rapidly rising proportion of couples are shunning church weddings, which can be costly, in favor of getting married at the municipal registry office.

According to the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), only 10.5 percent of almost 64,000 weddings that took part in 1995 were civil but this proportion shot up to 41.9 percent in 2009, although there were just under 60,000 weddings then.