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Do half of marriages end in divorce?

The statistic that 50 percent of marriages will eventually end in divorce is often quoted as fact, but is this really accurate? The truth is that the divorce rate is constantly changing, and it’s a surprisingly difficult thing to track.

One reason for this is because people often get divorced in different places than they were married, and there’s also second and third marriages and divorces to account for. Also, most divorce rate statistics are pulled from comparing the number of marriage and the number of divorces over a given time period, but this isn’t really a scientifically accurate way to measure the rate of divorce.

It’s generally accepted that the divorce rate was at its highest in the 1970s and 1980s. However, from the mid-1980s on, the divorce rate has been going down steadily. Now, some experts are saying that the divorce rate is around 33 percent. This lower number could also be impacted by the fact that it’s more socially acceptable to cohabitate long term, causing some couples to forego marriage altogether.

There are many different factors that go into how likely a couple is to divorce. For example, less educated couples have a higher divorce rate than those with college degrees. Socioeconomic status, whether the couple has any children and whether it’s a first marriage can also factor in. However, when you’re going through a divorce the statistics and possible reasons why tend to fade into the background as the reality of divorce hits. During this time, it’s important to be fully aware of your options, from filing to figuring out custody and parenting time, and what will be expected of you as you move through the family courts.

Source: Good, “The Divorce Myth That Just Won't Die,” Kate Ryan, July 27, 2016

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