For most people, divorce will play a significant role in their life in one way or another. Whether we experience it ourselves, play counselor to a close friend reeling from the pain of a messy separation, or deal with its confusion and heartache as a child, divorce has a way of touching each of our lives.
It’s important to stay informed, to engage with people and the world around us, and to understand the trends that affect our relationships and our lives. While we don’t recommend you sit around reading shocking statistics all the time, no matter the subject (this tends to develop a bit too much cynicism), we do encourage you to know what’s going on around you within culture and family. That way, you can work toward strengthening your own marriage right now or be prepared if you’re already staring at the possibility of divorce.
Here are 10 divorce statistics that will curl your toes, and hopefully, get you thinking more intentionally about what you want out of life and marriage.
1. An estimated 41% of US marriages end in divorce
Perhaps not surprising to some adults, this national average remains a dramatic statement to many people about our relational habits. Even more harrowing, the likelihood of divorce for men and women increases with every occurrence. with 60% of second marriages and 73% of third marriages ending.
2. Marriages that end in divorce last an average of 8 years
The national average duration of marriage for those eventually divorcing is a fascinating subject to tackle. Marriages that end in divorce make it just shy of 8 years within the US population. There might just be something to the old adage of the seven-year itch, the infamous season where relational bliss is said to fade to the point that many individuals, both men and women, decide they want out.
It’s important to know that these figures, while stark, also offer married couples a way out and a leg up. Knowing ahead of time that the majority of relationships experience certain types of burnout around this time, allows couples to look at their relationship more closely, pursue counseling beforehand to strengthen their bond instead of just waiting until things get bad, and building new avenues of intimacy every day so you won’t have to be just another statistic.
3. $12,900: The average cost of a divorce
This may not sound like much to some of you, but to most Americans, this is $13k they don’t have to spare. This figure grows significantly if kids and child support are involved, rising sharply to over $23,000.
Divorce can be expensive for everyone involved, both financially and emotionally. Couples can decrease their financial burden by working within a mature partnership, toward peaceable, reasonable agreements quickly, instead of dragging things out for months or even years, which increases attorney fees and other peripheral costs.
4. Business Managers experience a 4.3% decline in performance six months after divorce
This is an intriguing number to grapple with. We often spend time discussing the personal and familial consequences of divorce and separation. But how often do we look closely at all the ways divorce affects the rest of life?
Our closest relationships affect every other part of life, primarily because they really are that important. The stability, satisfaction, and support we experience in relationships helps us navigate life’s ups and downs, affords us perspective for solving problems, and strengthens our creativity and resolve.
For married men and married women alike, the dissolution of their most vital relationship can unleash a storm of emotional and psychological effects in multiple parts of life. We’re stressed all the time, distracted by thoughts of worry, regret, loss and confusion. Divorce often brings financial struggles, worries about the well-being of your children, and different kinds of personal instability.
Our sleep is affected. We exercise less or perhaps too much. We sometimes overeat or turn toward addictive patterns. All these impact our work performance. This means that, indirectly, marital status can affect our productivity and revenue, along with the morale of our crew and our connection with collaborators and partners.
With this in mind, it’s important to focus on your health and well-being during this time to stay as grounded and healthy as possible, and to get all the support you need through counselors, personal and professional mentors, career coaches, and business partners who have your best interests in mind.
5. Every 13 -36 seconds, a divorce takes place in the United States (findings vary between studies)
Wow! That means that no matter where those numbers land exactly, in the time it takes to watch a two-hour movie, US couples experience anywhere from 200 to over 550 divorces. On the other hand, in the United States, when it comes to marriage rates, the frequency of those tying the knot, a couple gets married every 16 seconds. So, it seems new marriages are slightly beating out divorce rates, if at least breaking even.
One more interesting fact on the subject, in 2019, we experienced the lowest levels of divorce we’ve had in 50 years. The lowest rate got pummled shortly after though. Unfortunately, this downward trend took a turn in the other direction during the pandemic just one year later.
6. Agricultural engineers and farmers experience some of the lowest divorce rates (1.8% and 7.6% respectively)
What is it about farming and agricultural work or the lifestyle that helps couples stay together and experience some of the most favorable percentages. Maybe it’s the other way around. Perhaps, certain personalities, more naturally geared toward long-term commitment, also gravitate toward agricultural professions. Either way, with certain trends in their favor and a divorce rate around just 1.8% for ag-engineers and 7.6% for farmers, it is good news for these individuals and their families.
Other professionals experiencing some of the lowest divorce rates include a handful of medical professionals, like podiatrists, optometrists and many surgeons, and others. Also, those in actuarial or physical sciences, clergy, and most engineers experience much lower divorce rates.
Moving away from the lowest levels, a significant increase in divorce rates is concentrated with gaming professionals, especially gaming managers, gaming cage workers and bartenders. Other higher risk professionals include dancers (presumably exotic dancers not those in ballet or modern dance), telemarketers and switchboard operators, and various manufacturing jobs.
While statistics carry a number of variables and are never exact, there are several more detailed tables that can provide a fairly accurate reflection of divorce rates by profession.
7. Couples living together before getting married experience a 40% rise in divorce
Without getting into various social, religious or cultural beliefs, and the many attitudes to cohabitation, it’s safe to say that living together prior to marriage may not always be ideal for many couples given the above statistic. Your chance of divorce goes up if you decide to bunk before you exchange vows.
Consider your options carefully and discuss all your options with each other before making such a big decision. Always look at the long-term and not merely what feels good in the moment.
8. $11,300: Average attorney’s fees for divorce
Divorces, especially those that are contested, can really add up. Dedicated lawyers are often our saving grace and lifeline during divorce transitions, and can save us thousands, sometimes millions of dollars, protect our custody rights, and help us establish healthy boundaries. But it’s good to know that it requires a certain investment to see that everything shakes out right.
9. Couples who divorce over the age of 50 lose around 50% of their wealth
It seems that with certain privileges come certain risks. Over time, we accumulate more assets, and thereby increase certain vulnerabilities within these assets, specifically when getting a divorce. Losing half of your net worth is no laughing matter.
For some, it simply means fewer luxuries. For many, though, it means a complete change in lifestyle and considerable personal and financial struggle. This can lead to stress, health problems, addictions, social struggles and family distress, and various work difficulties.
It’s important to hire a good lawyer who will protect you and help you come to a fair and reasonable settlement with your ex. Also, do everything you can to not worsen your relationship and communication with your spouse. It will only make things worse between the two of you and likely increase your ex’s desire to try for an even higher settlement.
10. If your parents are happily married, your risk of divorce decreases by 14%
This number is an example of how deeply our parents’ choices affect us. Seeing, hearing, and being around a healthier marriage helps us learn to communicate better, solve problems more effectively, handle conflict with more grace, and allows us to see the sacrifices and choices needed to make marriage work for the long-haul. Children of divorce or those who lived in a home with a lot of family distress, where the parents were clearly unhappy, are subject to a much higher rate of divorce in their own life.
There are countless other divorce figures beyond this very basic guide to divorce statistics. But we thought this list would be a fascinating glimpse into what’s really going on with divorce. Make sure you consider all your options. Consider professional counseling and mediation and always partner with an experienced divorce attorney when the time comes.
Torrone Law helps individuals, and families find wholeness and resolution during divorce, custody and adoption. Contact us today for a consultation and discover how we can help you and your family find peace.
To learn more about divorce, check out our frequently asked questions and answers below.
How often does divorce happen in the United States?
An estimated 41% of marriages end in divorce. This rises to 60% for second marriages and 73% for third marriages.
What factors increase divorce rates?
Poverty is rough on married people, with annual income and lingering debt providing many struggles. Also, cohabitation before marriage, infidelity, lack of preparation, sexual relationship difficulties, having parents who divorced, never married or fight often, along with marrying too young, domestic violence, and other forms of economic insecurity take a toll.
Other reasons include starting sexual activity in the early teens, lack of commitment, lack of equality, holding different spiritual or religious beliefs than your partner and many more.
What can I do if I think divorce is on the way?
It’s time to get a trusted counselor. You can both work with them to build new pathways of communication, openness, and intimacy, work through conflict and learn to problem solve together. Also, read some books together about strengthening your relationship and reach out to older couples with successful marriages who can provide guidance and direction.
Conflict has a wide range of outcomes. Divorce isn’t always necessary and can often be averted. Some couples opt for an alternative to marriage such as civil partnerships or later on, after marriage, separation without divorce. The risk of divorce decreases for those willing to forgive, listen, and do the work. However, for some, divorce is the healthiest and safest option.
If the signs are flashing and divorce becomes imminent, definitely work with an experienced divorce lawyer to make sure your finances and custody rights are protected, that you navigate the divorce process and divorce transitions smoothly, and ultimately, begin building a better life.