Many of you have heard that half of all marriages end in divorce, but does that conventional wisdom still hold true? According to a recent article featured by The New York Times, "marriages in this country are stronger today than they have been in a long time." The disparity between the conventional wisdom and this proclamation is evidenced by the graph in that article. Divorce rates have dropped for those that were married in the 1990's and 2000's as compared to those married in the preceding three decades. The most interesting observations in the article stem from looking at what caused the drop in divorce rates, as well as recognizing trends for subsets of people who make up the total divorce rate.
The reasons for the lower divorce rate are varied, ranging from later marriages to changes in gender roles. One of the most obvious factors may simply be that fewer people are getting married. Single-parent families and un-married cohabitation have become more accepted, marriage seems to have become more about love and shared passions rather than convenience or as a measure to satisfy one's family. Women's expectations are also playing a strong role in this changing divorce landscape; women are attending college in greater numbers than their male counterparts, and women have mostly shattered the breadwinner/homemaker dichotomy at home, allowing them to find more compatible reasons for marriage than simply a man's ability to financially provide. Men are also thinking more about what they want in a partner; the median age for marriage has increased from 23 for men and 20 for women in the 1950's to 27 for men and 26 for women as of 2004.
However, not all of the divorce trends support the statement that marriages are stronger today than in a long time. For working class families, and those who are not college educated, divorce rates are still at near peak levels. "As the middle of our labor market has eroded, the ability of high school-educated Americans to build a firm economic foundation for a marriage has been greatly reduced," says Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist and author of "Labor's Love Lost: The Rise and Fall of the Working-Class Family in America."
While for some the divorce rate is dropping, those facing divorce find little comfort in statistics. The issues involved in a divorce are complicated - ones that have significant impacts on a person's life, family, and well-being. If you are experiencing legal difficulties with your family life, you should contact a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who can guide you through those difficult times.
Please contact the Domestic Team at Feldmann Nagel Margulis for all of your family law needs.