Here are some interesting divorce statistics; Oregon has the fourth highest divorce rate in the nation at 12.8% while Oklahoma is just slightly ahead with 12.9%. Maine has 13.6% and Nevada comes in at number one with 14.2%. Not exactly a statistic to be proud of, especially if you’re known as the quickie-wedding capital of the United States like Nevada is. In 2008, the US Census bureau released these statistics based upon the percentage of residents in each state over the age of 15 who reported being divorced. To put that in perspective, the national average was reported as being 10.7%.
Something to bear in mind is that divorce in the US is not regulated by the federal government. It is left to the discretion of the states to set their own standards, laws and guidelines which means that there are many different factors that contribute to the numbers cited above. The requirements and timeline in Oregon may not be the same as those in Nevada or North Dakota, the state with the lowest divorce rate of 8.1%. It is also important to note that every divorce is different as well. Issues of custody, asset division, spousal and child support all factor prominently into the process and timeline.
One thing that all states now share in common is the “No Fault Divorce”. With no fault divorce, there is no burden to prove that one of the spouses did something specific that would necessitate a divorce. Prior to the introduction of the concept in 1969, there had to be legal proof provided that something had occurred that would cause the need for a divorce. California was the first to adopt it in 1969 and New York was the final holdout, not instituting it until 2010. It is also notable that by 1983, all states but New York and South Dakota had instituted no fault divorce. South Dakota joined the other states in 1985 but it took NY another 15 years to get on board. To be fair here, NY also claims one of the lowest divorce rates in the nation. They are consistently in the bottom three.
Though no fault divorce exists, many states still take circumstances into account when determining the outcome of a divorce and issuing a divorce decree. One of the primary reasons that some states held out so long was the concern that the spouse responsible for causing the divorce would be able to have alimony, asset division and other typical divorce determinations made without the court being able to take their actions and bad acts under consideration. Critics also feel that there are many benefits for children who have the opportunity to grow up in a two parent home and they are concerned that no fault divorce just makes it too easy to dissolve a union. Proponents point out that children take the behaviors exhibited by their parents into their own marriage and having a front row seat to an unhealthy marriage can impact the children’s chances of relationship success in marriage. Believe it or not though, the divorce rate for couples with children is about 40% lower than it is for couples without children. Children who have happily married parents are 14% less likely to have their own marriage result in divorce.
In the US, the median length of a marriage today is 11 years. Also interesting is that 90% of all divorces are settled out of court. It is a commonly held belief that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. There are some who disagree with that number but upon closer examination, the number of first marriages that end in divorce is 41% while with second marriages, the number jumps to 60% and hops to 73% for third attempts.
According to an article from December of 2012 on the Washington Times:
In every state, the portion of families where children have two parents, rather than one, has dropped significantly over the past decade. Even as the country added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million. Fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, live without a father, and nearly 5 million live without a mother. In 1960, just 11 percent of American children lived in homes without fathers.
Hopefully if you are choosing to divorce your children’s other parent, you aren’t treating it like a divorce from your children as well.
We pored over a lot of statistics to put this post together. Some of them were inconsistent so we quoted those that appeared regularly. One of those showed that those who get married very young have a significantly higher chance of getting a divorce. In the In 2011 “State of Our Unions” report prepared for the National Marriage Project by the Universities of Maryland and Virginia, studies found that:
- The risk of divorce decreases by 24% for those who wait to marry over the age of 25
- Those who have attended college decrease their risk of divorce by 13%
- Financial stability is helpful in achieving a successful union. An annual income over $50,000 decreases the risk of divorce by 30%
- Couples with strong religious beliefs decrease their risk of divorce by 14%
The good news for those hoping to ride off into the sunset toward a happy ending together is that according to the US Census Bureau, divorce rates have been steadily declining. In closing, this has been a very interesting piece to assemble. There are so many interesting numbers to research and trends to analyze when looking at divorce statistics. Ultimately, if you are suffering in a bad marriage, this data may not matter. On the other hand, it may bring some comfort to know that others are experiencing similar things in their relationships. In addition, understanding some of the root causes of marital strife might help you fix your relationship or better prepare you for the next one. If you are at the point where you need to move on, The best recipe for a favorable outcome is the working with a skilled and competent attorney.