Divorce In America: What The Statistics Really Tell Us

In discussing divorce in America, the common conclusion is that half of all marriages will likely end in divorce. This represents a sweeping generalization and when you look more closely at the numbers you’ll find that it doesn’t really hold up over time. In fact, the numbers tell us a very interesting story, which might surprise even those in the legal profession.

According to the most recent divorce statistics, the overall probability of any marriage ending in divorce ranges from 40-50% and is dependent on a number of variables. These can include race, religion, family history, the birth of children (particularly the first child) and the mental health of the spouses. With these variables factored in, amazingly only 29% of first marriages among women aged 15-44 were disrupted by divorce or other means.

What does this tell us about divorce in America? Well for one thing, it’s not nearly as prevalent as most people would think. In fact, divorce rates have actually been dropping fairly steadily during the last few decades. Overall, divorce has been much less common in the 21st century than it was during the 1990’s.

At the same time, those divorce statistics show us that women are far more likely to file for divorce than men. The numbers vary from state to state, but in general about 60% of divorce filings in the 19th century were by women. That percentage rose slightly with the introduction of no fault divorce, when it became easier for a spouse to file without being limited to proving an exact cause.

Another important factor as relates to divorce in America is the issue of child custody. Particularly where women are involved, filing for divorce is less common in jurisdictions where joint custody is allowed than those that favor sole custody.

Of course, any good divorce attorney should be particularly interested in the different variables that can affect the likelihood of filing for divorce. When a couple files for divorce, this knowledge can help their attorneys to provide the best possible legal advice and ensure the best outcome for their clients.

The key point to remember in any discussion of divorce in America is that divorce numbers tend to correlate with the state of the economy. The better the economy, the higher the divorce rate goes, probably because spouses feel more confident about supporting themselves in a boom economy. Conversely, when the economy falters, couples actually tend to band together rather than let financial troubles tear them apart.

About the only definitive statement you can make about divorce statistics is that you can never fully predict them. The numbers will vary depending on social constrictions and depending on who is doing the compiling. But the bottom line is that, unfortunately, divorce remains a reality for far too many couples and that means there will always be a need for qualified divorce attorneys.

The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice. The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned. Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions.

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