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2023 divorce statistics that could surprise you

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2022 | Family Law

You have probably heard that half of marriages end in divorce. But that bit of conventional wisdom isn’t quite accurate, at least not anymore. The current U.S. divorce rate is somewhere between 40-50 percent. The data suggests that the divorce rate is going down in this country.

Curious about other divorce trends? Here are ten facts about divorce that might surprise you.

  • In 2020, an estimated 630,505 couples were granted divorces in the U.S., but experts had predicted nearly 715,000 divorces for that year. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdown of courthouses for several months was likely the biggest reason for the decline.
  • Divorce is seasonal. More Americans file for divorce in the first three months of the year than in any other period. Researchers think that holiday stress can strain already troubled marriages to the point that one or both spouses decide to end things.
  • Divorce rates vary greatly from state to state. Massachusetts and Louisiana have the lowest rates at 1.0 and 1.4 divorces per 1,000 residents. Wyoming has the highest divorce rate at 3.8. In 2019, Washington’s divorce rate was 2.8 per 1,000 people.
  • The number of people getting divorced after age 50 has roughly doubled since 1990. For those aged 65 and above, the divorce rate has tripled.
  • Meanwhile, millennials (those born between 1981-96) are, so far, less likely to get divorced than older generations. This could be partly because young people are more likely to cohabitate with a partner than get married. When an unmarried couple breaks up, they obviously don’t need a divorce, even if they were together for years.
  • People with a friend who got divorced are 75 percent more likely to get divorced themselves. If they know a divorced friend of a friend, the risk of divorce goes up 33 percent.
  • Most legal separations eventually turn into divorces, but there are differences based on race and ethnicity. For example, 91 percent of separated white women get divorced within three years, but only 67 percent of black women and 77 percent of Hispanic women do.
  • The more educated a woman is, the less likely they are to get divorced. For women who got married between 2006-10, 78 percent of those with a college degree can expect to stay married for at least 20 years. In contrast, only about half of women who dropped out of college will stay married that long. Only 40 percent of women with a high school diploma or who dropped out of high school are likely to be still married to the same person after 20 years.
  • Since same-sex marriage became legal in the U.S., the divorce rate for same-sex couples has roughly equaled that of different-sex couples. However, data about same-sex marriage is still limited since the Supreme Court only legalized it nationwide in 2013.
  • Second (or third, fourth, etc.) marriages are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages.

These facts and figures may be interesting. But if you are thinking about divorce, or your spouse has told you it’s over, what matters most is how divorce will affect you and your children. A smart and carefully tailored legal strategy is your best bet for a sustainable financial settlement and a child custody order that respects your parental rights.