Posted by: Vernon Ready
We all know the common statistic about divorce in America: roughly 50% of marriages end in divorce, right? Wrong. Sort of.
First, let’s talk about where the 50% statistic comes from. When statistics about the rate of marriages and divorces come out each year, the two are compared and usually the rate of marriage doubles the rate of divorces. Hence, 50% of marriages end in divorce. This statistic isn’t necessarily true, since the two statistics aren’t exactly related (it’s rare for a couple to get married and divorced in the same year), but that’s where it comes from.
Even if you accept that statistic as meaning that half of all marriages end in divorce, though, our current divorce rate still isn’t 50%.
Here’s the short history version of what happened. When divorce laws were loosened in the middle of the 20th century, the number of divorces naturally increased. These numbers kept going up until they were around 50% in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.
Since then, though, the numbers have been dropping. The 1980 rate of divorce was 23 divorces for every 1,000 married women. In 2015, the rate of divorce was 16.9 divorces for every 1,000 married women. Meanwhile, the marriage rate is increasing. The 2015 marriage rate was 32.2 marriages for every 1,000 unmarried women. This is the highest that it has been in years.
So while more people are getting married, fewer are getting divorced.
Which begs the question: why are our divorce rates so low?
Keep in mind that this is the divorce rate for the entire country. Rates differ by income level, education level, and age. For example, adults over the age of 55 are actually going through more divorces (also known as “gray” divorces). Also, millennials are both getting married at lower rates than previous generations and they are getting divorced at lower rates than previous generations. They’re also young, though, so that’s something that could change as they age.
That being said, one of the most influential factors in the falling divorce rate in general is that people are waiting longer to get married. Since couples are less likely to rush into a marriage, they are less likely to have made a “wrong choice” and want a divorce.
Beyond this, social scientists have pointed to a number of different things that may be influencing the falling divorce rates. These reasons include:
If you are considering divorcing your spouse but want to explore alternative options, contact a Colorado family lawyer with experience in mediation, collaborative divorce, and alternative dispute resolutions.
About the Author:
Vernon Ready is an award-winning Colorado lawyer with an in-depth understanding of all areas of family law, estate planning, and personal injury. His energetic and aggressive advocacy approach allow him to successfully navigate complex cases, including high asset divorce and complicated custody issues. During his time at the University of Colorado Law School, Ready won numerous awards for his trial advocacy skills. Since being admitted to practice in 2009, Ready has become well-known throughout Denver and the state for the passionate defense of his clients and his unparalleled understanding of the law.