Divorce Rates are Dropping, and the Reasons are Surprising

Wow.  A recent article by Time Magazine is chock full of surprising information about divorce, and there is a lot to unpack here.  First, let’s start with the debunking of a statistic that has been long held as absolute truth – that 50% of marriages end in divorce.  Not true, according the Time article.  The actual figure is closer to 39% and has been trending down since the 1980s.  I have to say this is somewhat surprising given our overcrowded court system and how most family law attorneys I know could not be busier.  So what’s going on here? 

While the article explores many possible causes, there is one that stands out. It states that “Young couples are delaying marriage not because they’re waiting to find The One, but so that they can feel financially secure.”  I find this fascinating because it suggests that couples are, maybe more than ever, making informed decisions about marriage that go beyond feelings.  As a result, it also may mean that one or both parties may feel more empowered in the event they do eventually divorce. 

If a person doesn’t contemplate financial security as a major factor when getting married, they certainly will when getting divorced.  You can be sure that anxiety levels go up if a person doesn’t have a firm grasp on their marriage’s financial landscape, which many do not.  I cannot tell you how often people going through divorce feel powerless when they don’t know or have access to financial information.

However, by focusing on financial security before getting married, a person becomes familiar with finances, income, assets, retirement and the credit of their spouse, which will put them in an informed position to make decisions before, during or after divorce. This will serve them well in event they later need to contemplate divorce and forecast what a post-divorce life would look like.  Without this information, they are just guessing.  No one should rest any part of his or her divorce decision on a guess. 

In a future post, we’ll address other points in this article, including the idea that marriage is becoming a luxury only for those who can afford it.