Brazil had a record-setting 351,153 divorces in 2011, 45.6% more than in 2010 and the most since the annual statistic began to be kept in 1984, the government said Monday.
The 2011 divorce rate 2.6 for every 1,000 inhabitants over the age of 15 was also the highest since 1984, when it was only 0.5 for every 1,000, according to figures released by the IBGE statistics agency.
The IBGE attributed the steep rise in the number of couples opting for divorce to a new legislation in 2010 that reduced the length of time required by law for the granting of a divorce, which has been legal in Brazil since 1977.
"With the new regulations, a person who married last week can get a divorce today. That was impossible before," Claudio Crespo, IBGE economist and coordinator of the study, said.
The highest divorce rate in 2011 occurred in the 30-53 age group.
Of all the couples who divorced in 2011, some 37.2% had no children, 19.7% had adult offspring and 37.1% had children who were still minors.
Ten years previously, 51.5% of divorces were among couples with children who were minors, 26.8% of the couples had no children and 13.5% were couples with adult offspring.
Also on the rise are the number divorcees who wed again. The percentage of those who contract another marriage among the total number of marriages was 20.3% in 2011, compared with 12.3% in 2001.