Februar 2019

IZA DP No. 12150: Divorced in a Flash: The Effect of the Administrative Divorce Option on Marital Stability in the Netherlands

Administrative divorce is an optional divorce procedure which allows couples to bypass the court system and dissolve their marriages in a streamlined, uncontested process. The lack of court involvement renders the administrative divorce faster and less expensive than the conventional divorce. In this paper, I investigate whether the administrative divorce option affected the stability of marriages in the Netherlands. Leveraging the ban of the procedure in 2009, I show that the divorce risks were 11.6% higher under the legal regime which allowed for administrative divorce. This effect is causal, and it exhibits considerable heterogeneity, being stronger among dual-earner couples, native couples, and couples living in rural regions.