DIVORCE IN AMERICA AT A GLANCE
No one thinks about getting divorced on their wedding day, however, the reality is that between 40 and 50% of all first-time married couples that walk down the aisle will one day walk into a courtroom. It’s a sobering statistic that all couples should consider and discuss with their partner before “I do,” becomes “I don’t.” There are roughly 876,000 divorces every year; that’s roughly one divorce filing every 36 seconds.
First Marriage Statistics
The average American woman gets married at 27, and the average man at 29. In 1990, the average ages were 23, and 26, respectively. The age at first marriage is continuing an upward trend. There are a number of reasons for this. People in their twenties are actively pursuing education, career, and travel opportunities. To this demographic, marriage is still important but it isn’t the penultimate accomplishment they desire. Statistically, couples who wait until they are over the age of 25 are 24% less likely to end up getting divorced.
Marriage and Income
Additionally, women are showing a strong desire to be financially independent. The average income of college-educated women who delay marriage until after 30 is $50,415. This is much higher than college educated women who marry younger and have an average income of just $32,263 in their mid-30’s. Conversely, college-educated men who marry younger end up making more money in their mid-30’s than those who marry after they are 30.
Statistically, the higher a couple’s income, the less likely they are to need the assistance of a collaborative attorney because they are less likely to get divorced. However, there is a caveat. If the woman makes more than her husband, as is the case in 29% of marriages, the chance of divorce increases. This so-called “income effect” is a relatively new phenomenon and is still being studied to understand what long-term impact it will have on marriage in America.
Age at Divorce
Those at greatest risk for divorce are women and men between the ages of 20-24. Within this demographic, 36.6% of women, and 38.8% of men will end up getting divorced. The rates drops considerably as people get older. Between the ages of 25-29, 16.4% of women, and 22.3% of men will get divorced. By ages 35-39, only 5.1% of women, and 6.5% of men will get divorced.
There are many reasons for the decreasing divorce rate as couples grow older. Maturity, income, and children keep many marriages together. While these often serve as the glue that keeps a marriage together, they can also be wedges that drive them apart.
In 2014, the marriage rate in America was 6.9 per 1,000 people. The marriage rate has remained stable for the past 6 years, however, it is down considerably from the rate of 8.2 per 1,000 in 2000.
In 2014, roughly 3.2 per 1,000 people got divorced or sought an annulment. This was down from 4 per 1,000 in 2000. The trend over the past 15 years shows an almost 50% rate between new marriages, and those who are getting divorced.
Divorce and Children
Nearly 50% of children in America will end up becoming “children of divorce.” One in ten of these will go through the divorce of a parent 3 times. Of these 43% are growing up in homes with limited, or non-existent contact with their father.
When children are involved, 79.6% of custodial mothers will receive support awards from the court. Conversely, only 29.6% of custodial fathers will. When support is ordered, 26.9% of non-custodial fathers will default on their support obligation. Surprisingly, when the mother is the non-custodial parent who is ordered to pay support, 46.9% will default on their obligation. Nationally, 28% of children whose parents are divorced live in a home whose income is below the federal poverty line.
Reasons for Divorce
Recent changes to the Illinois Marriage and Family Act have made Illinois is a no-fault state. However, while the grounds for seeking a divorce through a collaborative attorney have been simplified to simply “irreconcilable differences,” that doesn’t mean mitigating factors don’t exist that lead to marriage break-ups. Of divorces filed within the United States, the following are the most commonly cited causes for the marital breakdown:
Lack of Commitment – 73% of divorcing couples cite this as a contributing cause.
Fights/Bickering/Arguing – 56% said they had fought to frequently with their partner.
Cheating – 55% cite physical infidelity that began as an emotional affair.
Age – 46% of divorced couples cite the age at which they married as a contributing factor.
Unprepared – 41% cite lack of marital preparedness, and pre-marital counseling as reasons for their divorce.
Expectations – 45% claim unrealistic expectations of their partner, and their marriage, created irreconcilable conflicts.
Inequality – 44% claim their marriage breakdown was because of unequal income, or unequal sharing of marital responsibilities.
Domestic Abuse – Physical, emotional, and mental abuse accounted were factors in 29% of all divorces.
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