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Divorce rate declined over past two decades

It is a commonly cited statistic that half of all marriages end in divorce. While still, mostly true, this over-simplifies the situation. While the overall divorce rate is significantly higher than it was a century ago. A study by the Pew Research Center found that the rate of divorce has been on a steady decline over the past 20 or so years. In fact, the current rate is 3.5 divorces per 1,000 people, down from 4 divorces per 1,000 people in 2000.

The total number of annual divorces is roughly one-half of the total number of marriages. But this over-simplified number does not go into how people are actually getting divorced. This number may lead you to assume that all marriages and divorces are exactly the same, they are not.

The study found that while the total numbers of divorces are high, the rate of divorce declines the longer a couple stays together. But, paradoxically, the longer a couple is together the higher likelihood they will get divorced. For example, 89 percent of marriages in their first four years are still together while only 65 percent of marriages in their 15th anniversary. This does not mean that longer relationships get divorced more, it only means that they have been exposed to the risk of divorce for longer than younger marriages.

So while the total number of divorces may be high, the study has found that the longer a couple is together the less likely they will get divorced. Moreover, the study also found that education levels correspond with divorce rates, couples with a high school education or less divorce at higher rates than college graduates.

If you are considering a divorce then you may want to call an attorney to review your options. Divorce is a complicated decision with many financial and legal issues to consider. An attorney can go over these issues and help you craft a plan for the divorce. Do not try and “wing” a divorce on your own. You could get stuck with any number of issues including debt, a mortgage you cannot sustain or spousal support. An attorney can ensure that your rights are adequately represented.

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