NEWS

More and more couples head for divorce courts soon after the wedding

Getting a divorce is one of the toughest experiences and it may take years to get over it, according to specialists. Yet divorces have been on the increase for a considerable time according to the National Statistics Service. Although most people wait for the so-called seven-year itch to be over before filing for a divorce, there has been an increase in couples splitting up after only a few years of marriage. Women file for divorce more frequently than men and, though children have always been the main deterrent in a couple’s decision to put an end to their marriage, even people with as many as five or six children are deciding to get divorced. «When family law radically changed in 1983, there was a sudden increase in divorces. About 5,000 people, previously unable to get a divorce, finally managed to get one,» explains legal sociologist Kaiti Kostavara. Kostavara says people do not want marriage anymore because the obligations it creates cannot be counterbalanced by what it offers. It is noteworthy that many couples split up after just one year of marriage, the amount of married time legally required for a couple to be able to file for a divorce. The crucial moment comes after the first five years, when most clashes occur, especially if no children are involved. About 2,544 people in 2000 decided to split up after over 20 years of married life. «Even 60-year-olds want a divorce,» says lawyer Costas Diakos. Family lawyers say that when a couple’s income increases, the chances of the couple staying together are reduced. «Women are usually the ones to seek a divorce and the ones more likely to stick to their decision. Men are often willing to reconsider because married life suits them better,» says lawyer Ioanna Kapiki. Women mostly complain of neglect and oppression, which can even reach the point of physical abuse. Malvina Tsounaki, clinical psychologist and family therapist, believes that the main reason why people find it so hard to remain married nowadays is that they don’t know how to handle married life. «They give each other a hard time and then decide to get divorced. In the old days, family members had very clearly defined roles, but the modern family does not know how to behave.» Tsounaki says the family must provide all its members with the opportunity to improve. «When the community was stronger, the family was larger. Today, we do not know how the nuclear family can function. We are all trying to put as much as we can into a relationship but we don’t know how and we fail because circumstances are different.»