.- According to data from the Institute for Family Politics that will be officially presented next week, the annual divorce rate in Spain will surpass the number of marriages in the country within seven years.
The report shows that a marriage is broken every four minutes in Spain and that the increase in civil unions, cohabitation and children born out of wedlock also contributes to this outlook.
Divorce was legalized in Spain in 1981 and since then 3 million marriages have ended in divorce.
The Institute said this rate continues to increase, since the annual growth of separations is around 26% and almost quadruple the growth of marriages, which is around 7%.
In 2002, some 115,000 couples decided to separate or divorce, compared to 16,000 in 1981. In the meantime, during the last 22 years, the absolute number of marriages has remained around 200,000 per year.
The study also shows marriages are increasingly shorter in duration. Half of all marriages end in separation in the first 10 years of living together, and 7 of 10 do not make it past 15 years.
Spain is also moving closer to the European model of non-religious marriages. 1 in 4 couples were married only civilly in 2000.