Separating the facts about divorce from fiction can be challenging. Many, including, you guessed it, the 50 percent myth, where we mistakenly think that half of all marriages end in divorce have been with us for so long that they’re ingrained in our culture.
We don’t revisit them or seem to think that maybe the landscape changed in the last 50 years. In this article, we share current facts about divorce that you should consider.
The Divorce Rate Is Not 50 Percent
Those getting a divorce in the United States are often reported as being around 50 percent. However, this number is actually based on a rather small number of divorces compared to the total number of marriages.
The divorce rate is closer to four in 10 marriages. The “half of all marriages” figure comes from the fact that one divorce happens for every two marriages that occur.
However, this doesn’t factor in that there are many marriages still going strong. The majority of total marriages (about six in 10) actually last a lifetime.
College Education Improves Your Odds
Another of our divorce facts you might be surprised to learn: college education doesn’t just pay off in terms of your career prospects. It also increases the odds that your marriage will last.
That’s according to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, which found that college-educated adults are significantly more likely to stay married than those without a degree.
The study found that 36 percent of adults with a college degree had been divorced, compared to 41 percent of those who had some college experience and 50 percent of those who had no college experience.
While there are many factors that can contribute to a lasting marriage, the data suggests that a college education is one of them. So if you’re looking for love, it may be worth pursuing a degree.
Divorce Rates Fall Dramatically For Ages 50 And Older
Divorce statistics from the National Center for Family & Marriage Research show that divorce rates are lowest among couples aged 50 and over, and highest amongst those aged 20-24 years old. There are a number of reasons why this may be the case.
For one, couples who have been married for many years may have already weathered any major storms in their relationship and be more committed to staying together.
Additionally, they may have grown children who they don’t want to uproot, or simply be more financially stable and better equipped to deal with the costs of a divorce. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that divorce rates decline dramatically as couples age, making 50 the new 30 when it comes to marriage.
There Is A But
Gray divorce is on the rise among baby boomers. You can probably already tell what gray divorce is, but for the sake of clarity, here’s a definition: gray divorce is the term used for couples over the age of 50 who divorce.
So while divorce rates may be lowest among couples aged 50 and over, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of gray divorces happening. In fact, the rate of gray divorce has doubled since 1990, according to a report from Bowling Green State University. This indicates that trends in marriage and divorce are shifting dramatically in the new millennium.
The reasons for this are varied but may include the fact that boomers are living longer and healthier lives than previous generations, and thus feel they have more time to pursue happiness. Additionally, women, in particular, have become more financially independent, giving them the ability to walk away from unhappy marriages.
Divorce Can Affect Your Health
Divorce can be a difficult and stressful experience. It brings ripple effects that can extend far beyond the immediate parties involved.
One of the areas where divorce can have a significant impact is on health. Studies have shown that divorce can lead to a host of physical and mental health problems. This includes higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and heart disease.
The stress of divorce can also lead to poorer lifestyle choices, such as increased smoking and drinking. These issues can further compound health problems.
In addition, divorce can lead to financial problems as divorce law cases aren’t cheap (more to come). This can also take a toll on health.
All of these factors underscore the importance of taking care of one’s self during and after a divorce. With proper support and self-care, it is possible to weather the challenges of divorce and emerge healthy and whole on the other side.
And Your Pocketbook
The average cost of a divorce in the United States comes in at around $15,000. However, this number can vary widely, depending on the complexity of the divorce and the lawyer fees involved.
For couples with significant assets, such as a home, investments, and retirement accounts, the cost of divorce can be much higher. In fact, one study put the average cost of a high asset divorce at $75,000.
While the cost of divorce can be significant, it’s important to remember that the financial impact of staying in an unhappy marriage can also be very costly. This includes the emotional toll that comes with being in an unhappy relationship. There’s also the potential loss of income if one spouse needs to take time off work to deal with the stress of the situation.
Prenups Will Not Doom Your Marriage
A prenup is often seen as a predictor of divorce, but this is actually not the case. While it is true that some couples who have prenups end up getting divorced, prenups can actually help to prevent divorce.
This is because prenups can help to clarify expectations and roles within a marriage. For example, a prenup can specify how property will be divided in the event of a divorce.
This can help to avoid conflict and misunderstandings later on. Additionally, prenups can help to establish financial transparency between spouses. This can prevent arguments about money from becoming a leading cause of divorce.
These Facts About Divorce Are Worth Remembering Before Tying Any Knots
It’s never a good idea to take facts about divorce as predictors of it. That said, they can tell you a lot about what to expect if you choose to get married.
And hopefully, they can help you avoid some of the pitfalls. Best of luck in your relationship. For more legal information and relationship stats, check out some of our additional posts.