Divorce in Mexico: Rates, Causes, and Historical Evolution

Discover the latest statistics on the rise of divorce rates in Mexico, including causes and variations by state and economic activity. Also, explore the history of divorce in Mexico, from the Church's monopoly to the revolutionary reform that allowed for the mutual and free consent of the spouses.

Divorce in Mexico: Rates, Causes, and Historical Evolution
During the year 2021, the number of divorces in Mexico climbed by 61.4%. Photo by engin akyurt / Unsplash

According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), the number of divorces in Mexico increased by 61.4% from 2020 to 2021, with 149,675 divorces being filed last year. The national divorce rate in Mexico for individuals over 18 years of age was 16.9 separations per 10,000 inhabitants. In 2021, 149,234 divorces were recorded between a man and a woman, while 153 separations were between men and 288 were between women.

Campeche had the highest divorce rate in 2021 at 46.6, followed by Sinaloa at 40.2 and Coahuila de Zaragoza at 37.4. Meanwhile, Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave had the lowest divorce rate at 6.4, followed by Oaxaca at 8.6 and Puebla at 9.1.

The leading cause of divorce in Mexico in 2021 was "embedded divorce," accounting for 65.9% of separated couples, followed by mutual consent at 32.7%, and separation from the marital home for more than one year, with or without justified cause, at 0.43%. In 22 states, the main cause of divorce was "uncaused divorce," while the remaining 10 were by mutual consent.

Women in Mexico got divorced at an average age of 39.6 years, slightly younger than men at 42.2 years. Of the 134,663 judicial divorces registered in Mexico in 2021, 25.2% of the marriages involved a minor daughter or son, while 18.8% of the couples involved two daughters or sons.

Regarding economic activity, 70% of divorced men said they worked, while only 50.4% of divorced women said the same. The highest percentage of divorced people worked as employees, with women registering 80.8% and men registering 73.3% in 2021.

Divorce in Mexico: The Progressive Reform That Changed Everything

The phrase "until death do us part" used to be a strict rule for Mexican couples. However, in 1914, President Venustiano Carranza brought about a significant change to the country's divorce laws. This modification allowed for the conception of divorce as it is known today. Let's explore the history of divorce in Mexico and how it evolved.

The history of divorce in Mexico dates back to the time of the Viceroyalty when the first separation processes were registered. However, these separations did not mean the annulment or dissolution of the marriage, as restrictions were imposed, such as the inability to remarry until the death of one of the spouses. The Church was the only institution authorized to deal with divorce, making the process time-consuming and complicated.

During the 19th century, the Church continued to regulate civil matters, and the situation remained unfavorable for couples seeking a divorce. However, the separation between the Church and the Mexican State, promoted during the presidency of Benito Juárez, paved the way for changes in the attribution of the clergy, and civil matters were eventually taken care of by the State.

Although the liberal government began to regulate divorce, in practice, it continued to maintain the principles of Catholic marriage. Divorce remained temporary, and parties involved could not marry while the other was still alive. Furthermore, only a limited number of grounds were established to validate divorce.

It was not until the Mexican Revolution that the need to change the divorce process arose again. On December 29, 1914, Venustiano Carranza enacted a progressive reform to section IX of article 23 of the law, allowing for marriage to be dissolved by the mutual and free consent of the spouses. Once the marriage was dissolved, the parties involved were free to enter into a new union.

This reform was revolutionary, breaking one of the old customs imposed by the Church in marital matters. Among the diverse arguments expressed for this change, the political rapprochement between Carranza and feminist and revolutionary Hermila Galindo is pointed out. The Law of December 29, 1914, expressed the freedom of women to emancipate themselves from the conditions of slavery they lived in within some marriages.

With time, various state legislations expanded the freedom to exercise divorce in other types of circumstances and ways. For example, uncaused divorce does not require the consent of both spouses or the need to justify the cause for the dissolution of the marriage.

In conclusion, Venustiano Carranza's reform marked a significant change in the history of divorce in Mexico, breaking away from the old customs imposed by the Church in marital matters. This progressive reform allowed for the freedom of both parties involved to dissolve their marriage by mutual and free consent, promoting the well-being of Mexican families.

Full Citation: Nación, Archivo General de la. “Lo Que Dios Ha Unido, Que Lo Separe La Persona: Un Breve Repaso En La Concepción Del Divorcio En México.” gob.mx, 21 Feb. 2023, www.gob.mx/agn/es/articulos/un-breve-repaso-en-la-concepcion-del-divorcio-en-mexico?idiom=es.