Do Half of All Marriages Really Fail?

Charles Ullman located in Raleigh NC

Our Raleigh divorce lawyers discuss divorce statistics in North Carolina.

The idea that half of all marriages end in a divorce is a widely cited statistic. However, is the statement that 50 percent of all marriages fail a true one? If not, what percentage of marriages do end in separation or divorce?

Rate of Divorce on the Decline

The truth is that the rate of divorce is actually declining, not increasing. According to an article published in The New York Times, divorce rates increased in the 1970s and 1980s, but then dropped again over the following decades. The following considers the rates of divorce of couples married in the following years:

  • 1960s: approximately 38 percent
  • 1970s: approximately 45 percent
  • 1980s: approximately 50 percent
  • 1990s: approximately 34 percent
  • 2000s: approximately 14 percent
Statistics show that those who got married most recently, in the 2000s, are divorcing at much lower rates than people who were married in previous decades. According to University of Michigan economist who was cited by The New York Times article, if the trend continues, about two-thirds of marriages will not end in divorce.

Why the Change in Rate of Divorce?

Why the Change in Rate of Divorce?First of all, why was the rate of divorce in the 1970s and 1980s so high? Social scientists surmise that the upward surge of divorce rates during those decades were anomalous, and had to do with a feminist movement that was occurring simultaneously. While earlier decades embraced the traditional man-brings-home-the-bacon and woman-stays-home-with-the-kids way of life, in the 1970s, more women than ever before began entering the workforce, shaking up the traditional family model.

In addition to a feminist movement, there are multiple factors that may contribute to the fact that the divorce rate is steadily falling. For example, divorce rates may be dropping due to changes in women’s expectations (approximately two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women). Other reasons may be an increase in “love” marriages rather than marriages that are arranged by families or involve familial pressures or that seek a spouse based on breadwinning or homemaking capabilities, the advent and use of birth control, and the fact that the average marriage age is now older than it once was.

Rate of Divorce Highlight Income and Education Inequalities

The current drop in divorce trends is not all good, however. While the rate of divorce has certainly dropped overall, the lowest rates of divorce are among those who are the most educated. On the other hand, the rates are still high — mirroring the divorce rates of earlier decades — among those persons without college degrees. In fact, only 11 percent of college-educated people who married in the 2000s seek a divorce by their seventh anniversary, according to the article.

On the other hand, the rate increases to 17 percent among persons without college degrees. While most uneducated families still retain traditional notions about marriage and divorce, often spurred by religious beliefs, economic reasons may push these couples to separate. On the flipside, couples where both parties are educated may achieve a happier balance, with both parties in the relationship working during tougher economic times.

Different Times, Different Rates, Same Issues

While the times are certainly different today, and the rates of divorce have shifted dramatically, the issues in divorce are still the same. Couples who choose to divorce still have to deal with common complications, such as the division of property, child custody, child support, and alimony or spousal support payments.

Divorce in North Carolina

Some states, like North Carolina, have tried to make it harder for couples to get divorced by implementing a mandatory waiting period before a divorce will be issued. In fact, North Carolina legislators tried to make it even more difficult for couples in the state to get a divorce in 2013, when they proposed Senate Bill 518, which would have doubled the yearlong waiting period.

Despite the waiting period, the state still maintains no-fault divorce laws, meaning that a marriage can be dissolved if either party in the marriage, as long as the couple is separated for one year (or one party has suffered from incurable insanity for three years).

What to Do If You Believe Your Marriage Will Fail

Unfortunately, despite the fact that divorces are on the decline, thousands of people still get divorced every year. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most recent divorce rate data shows that the rate of divorce is 3.6 per 1,000. If you believe that your spouse is planning to file for divorce, or you want to seek a divorce, it is important that you take action to protect yourself early on. This includes:

  • Taking inventory of all property and assets
  • Searching for hidden assets in a divorce
  • Thinking about how you will provide for yourself
  • Getting your finances in order
  • Considering issues like child custody and child support
  • Calling a divorce attorney

Why Do I Need a Divorce Attorney?

Divorces can get ugly. If you and your spouse divorce on angry terms, issues in your divorce may be painful and complicated to resolve. If you and your spouse can not come to an agreement on how property will be divided, with whom the kids will live, etc., a court will make these determinations for you. If this is the case, you will want an attorney on your side who can present your stance on the each issue in divorce and advocate on your behalf.

Contact the Law Firm of Charles R. Ullman & Associates Today

divorce attorneyIf you have facing a divorce, you should take action to contact the experienced Raleigh divorce attorneys at the Raleigh law offices of Charles R. Ullman & Associates, PLLC, today. Our attorneys will do everything that we can to protect your interests in a divorce, and will guide you through everything that there is to know about filing for a divorce, and common issues in divorce in North Carolina. Call us today or contact us using our online form now.

Latest Headline from Our Blog

Can Social Media Affect My Divorce?

Americans are in love with social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Flickr, Snapchat, and Tumblr. These digital connections have, in fact, become a window on the world for many people, and it seems that many of the... Keep Reading

Read more
Calculate Your Child Support
Talk to an Experienced Family Law Attorney 919-829-1006