New Zealand ranks 25th in the world for divorce rates according to a new study - but this could change after Covid-19.

The study, based in Germany, analysed 87 countries around the world to discover where marriages are most likely to end in divorce and found that 1 out of 300 Kiwi adults is divorced.

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Chile is last in the index with the lowest rate of divorce in the world, while Russia is at the top of the list with the highest rate worldwide - 1 in every 154 adults in Russia is divorced.


New Zealand ranks 25th overall - according to the study, the 1970s shift toward a "soulmate" model of marriage caused divorce rates to shoot up in New Zealand and the UK.

Auckland-based divorce lawyer Jeremy Sutton says after lockdown lifts, there could be a rise in people wanting to separate "because they've spent so much time together".

"The only other time where people spend this much time together is at Christmas or over the holidays, which always sees a rise in separation rates. January is a good time for divorce lawyers."

He said the lockdown could put more pressure on issues such as differences in parenting and lifestyle, which are the major factors that lead to separation.

However, some couples might be forced to stay together because they're now concerned about their financial future, Sutton said.

"People will stay together because it's more expensive to buy your own food, pay your own rent."

He said it was hard for couples to access support in lockdown and that they would often stay together for the sake of their children, if they had them.

"Some will stay together until the children leave school, and now they'll be spending so much more time with their kids it'll be more difficult to leave.


"We have seen a rise in disputes in relation to shared care, some are unable to see their kids in different bubbles and they're feeling frustrated."

The study aims to offer an international comparison of divorce rates and the historical factors that continue to keep people from accessing divorce services.

Predominantly Catholic countries rank closer to the bottom of the index, with low divorce rates. Ireland sits at 81st place, as divorce was legalised only in 1995 and still depends on strict requirements, like five years of separation.

Australia ranks 19th on the list, with 1 of 287 adults in Australia divorced. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website