Press Release 05/06/2019


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3,555 marriages broke up in the Basque Country in 2017, 1% down on the previous year

In 36.5% of cases, the custody of minor children was shared

In 2017 there were 3,555 marital breakdowns in the Basque Country, a decrease of 1% compared to the previous year, according to Eustat data. Of the total number of breakdowns, 16.2% were processed by the courts in Álava, 54.1% in Bizkaia and 29.8% in Gipuzkoa. Marital breakdown is defined as the dissolution of a marriage due to direct annulment, separation or divorce. In other words, marriages that have ended without a prior legal separation.

Of the total number of direct divorces, 2,656 were by mutual consent and 757 were contested, which represented a fall of 5.4%. As for separations, 118 were by mutual consent and 23 were contested.


In 62.4% of marital breakdowns the request was filed jointly by both spouses, in 25.0% by the wife and only 11.8% by the husband.

37.4% of break ups occurred before the tenth anniversary of the marriage and 28.7% after 20 years. In the case of separations, 58.2% of marriages lasted 15 years or more. The marriages dissolved directly through divorce lasted on average 15 years, a figure that rose to 24 years among those dissolved with a prior legal separation.

34.4% of dissolved marriages had no minor children or dependants of legal age; 54.5% had only minors, 5.4% had only offspring of legal age who were economically dependent and in 5.7% of cases there were both minor and legal age dependants.

In 57.7% of marriages with children, child support was paid by the father, in 6.9% by the mother and in 35.4% by both spouses.


Regarding the custody of minor children, in 55.9% of cases it was granted to the mother, in 7.1% to the father, and it was shared in 36.5% of cases.

The total number of divorces in 2017 was 3,868

Regarding divorces, in 2017 there was a total of 3,868, divided into 455 cases where there had been a prior legal separation and 3,413 direct divorces.

3,840 heterosexual couples got divorced as well as 28 homosexual couples, 10 of them male and 18 female.

In reference to heterosexual divorces, the majority took place in the 40-49 age range, in the case of both men and women, comprising 39.1% and 40.2%, respectively, of the total of divorcees. The average age of women at the time of divorce was 45, whilst for men it was 47.

Regarding the nationality of spouses, 10.5% of men were foreign, and the percentage of foreign wives was similar, at 10.9%.

As for the civil status of the spouses when they entered into the now-dissolved marriage, 90.4% of women were single, a figure which stood at 91.7% in the case of men.

Most spouses were resident in the Basque Country on the date of the divorce, although 2.7% of both men and women resided outside the Basque Country.

In 2017 there were 141 separations and 1 marital annulment

Of the 141 separations that occurred in 2017, 83.7% were by mutual consent and 16.3% were resolved through legal action.

These 141 separations corresponded to heterosexual couples. In these cases, the average age of women was 50 and the average age of men was 52.

For further information:

Eustat - Euskal Estatistika Erakundea / Basque Statistics Institute C/ Donostia-San Sebastián, 1 01010 Vitoria-Gasteiz Press Service: Tel: 945 01 75 62

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3,555 marriages broke up in the Basque Country in 2017, 1% down on the previous year

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Statistics on marital breakdown
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Año 2017
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