One of the most popular divorce statistics in the US is that around 40% to 50% of all marriages end in a divorce. However, experts say that this applies to first marriages. They also point out that the risks are higher in subsequent marriages.
The divorce process in the US has changed over the years, though; for one, it now has a lower divorce rate. Still, the passing of laws, such as those for allowable grounds for divorce, has made it easier to split up. Today, most states now let couples file for divorce due to irreconcilable differences.
To help folks out there better understand divorce in the US, we decided to come up with this list of statistics. Read on to discover facts about this process, from rates to reasons to costs.
1. The US Has Among the Highest Divorce Rates in the World
The US has higher divorce rates than many other countries like Norway and the United Kingdom. This has been the case for these three countries since 1965.
In 1965, the US divorce rate was 2.5 per 1,000 individuals, while it was only 0.7 for Norway and the UK. In 2016, the rate increased to 3 per 1,000 individuals in the US, while it was only 1.9 in Norway and 1.8 in the UK.
2. US Divorce Rates Have Been Dropping
The statistic about half of all US marriages ending in a divorce goes back many decades ago. From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, four to five per 1,000 individuals got divorced.
However, divorce rates in the US have continued to drop since 1992. There were a few times wherein the rates climbed from the year before, but not as high as back in ’79, ’81, and ’92. In fact, a 2018 report from the CDC showed that the rate has shrunk to only 2.9 per 1,000 of the population.
So, only a little over a third of marriages ended in divorce in 2018. That year, the number of divorces totaled 782,038, while there was a total of 2,132,853 marriages.
3. Arkansas Had the Highest Divorce Rates in 2019
In 2019, Arkansas topped the list of states with the most number of divorced women in the nation. Back then, the state was home to 10.7 female divorcees per 1,000 married individuals. Oklahoma, Nevada, New Mexico, Kentucky, and Wyoming also had high rates of divorcees.
On the other end of the spectrum was Maine, with only 4.8 divorced women per 1,000 married folks. It was the only state that had a divorce rate of under 5. Other states with low divorce rates had at least 6 female divorcees per 1,000 married women.
4. 75% of Divorcees Blame Lack of Commitment
A study involving 52 divorcees looked into the most common reasons for divorce. The participants cited at least 11 reasons for the dissolution of their marriage. However, three in four of the divorcees cited a lack of commitment as a key player in the split-up.
Extramarital affairs, AKA cheating, came in second. Almost six in 10 of the participants cited this as their reason for breaking up their marriage.
Irreconcilable differences, characterized by non-stop arguments, ranked as the third most common reason. More than 57% of the surveyed individuals divorced because of this.
5. The Cost of Divorce Averages $15,000
That $15,000 price tag already includes the basics like court filing and mediation fees. It also accounts for psychiatric therapies, parenting classes, and attorney fees.
That’s only an average, though, which means that half of the divorce cases come with a higher cost. This is especially true for contested divorces, which leads to lengthy court battles. Such cases come with more court filing fees and, of course, more billable attorney hours.
Do note that a divorce lawyer can help not only in a contested divorce but also an uncontested one. An attorney will protect your rights and interests even if you and your spouse agree to get divorced. These legal professionals ensure that divorce agreements are fair for both parties.
6. Many Marriages Don’t Make It To 10 Years
Data from 1867 to 1977 showed that the median duration of marriages back then ranged from 5.8 to 8.3 years. However, many other marriages ended way before they even reached four years.
Interestingly, this trend has persisted in modern times. Today, many married couples divorce after about seven years of marriage.
Some people associate this with what psychologists refer to as the seven-year itch.
Keep in mind that the seven-year itch doesn’t have scientific proof. However, the idea behind it is that it’s the point at which folks become tired of their relationship. From there, they either try to make it work or simply move on and away from their partners.
7. The First Two Years May Make or Break a Marriage
Some experts say that the first two years of marriage can be a divorce predictor.
For starters, it’s during this time when the grandeur of a wedding dissipates. This is especially true once the honeymoon is over. The financial stress that then follows can contribute to a first rocky year or marriage.
Another possible reason is the confrontation of financial reality vs. the happily-ever-after illusion. Even if a couple lived together before they wed, they likely had separate expenses. After marriage, they already share almost everything, especially the bills.
Not All Divorce Statistics Apply To Everyone
Keep in mind that divorce statistics are only figures based on a group of people. They are well-researched, but that doesn’t mean they already apply to you. So, just because statistics say that 50% of married folks will divorce doesn’t mean you’ll be one of them.
Of course, if you believe that getting a divorce is the right step, then, by all means, file for one.
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