American Divorce Trends

While there are hundreds of potential reasons for a divorce, not all of the factors that contribute to divorce are in control of you or your spouse. A surprising array of factors outside a couple affects their chances of divorce.

One of the first and most obvious is a change in divorce laws. In the 1960s and 1970s, when laws were changed to allow no-fault divorces, and the ways that child support and property were determined, the number of divorces doubled across the nation. People didn’t suddenly become less happy in their marriages; it was just easier to leave an unhappy marriage without becoming financially devastated.

You would think that hard economic times would cause divorce rates to rise because of the stress that financial problems put on marriages. However, times of economic uncertainty, such as the Great Recession, actually lead to lower divorce rates. Experts theorize that couples try to ride out these financial problems together to see if things get better. Additionally, if one partner is unemployed, the other might choose to wait until he or she finds a job again before seeking a divorce.

Divorce papers are more likely to be filed during certain times of the year. January and February bring many divorces, because people will try to hold on through the holidays. While there is something to be said for moving on with a divorce and helping your family establish new expectations and new family traditions, it is also understandable to not want to add the stress of divorce negotiations to the stress of the holidays.

There are also demographic factors that are linked to the likelihood that a couple will divorce. People who are on a second or third marriage are more likely to divorce than those who are married for the first time. People whose parents divorced are also more likely to get a divorce themselves. Additionally, those who marry under the age of 30 have a higher incidence of divorce than those who wait until they are older.