The up-and-down divorce rate

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Friday, March 21, 2014.

The divorce rate is kind of like the unemployment rate. For you, it is either 0 percent or 100 percent, as you either have a job or you do not and you are either divorced or not. It can be a rather abstract topic for general discussion, or it can be intensely personal. So, questions of whether the divorce rate is going up or down can seem rather academic, but they are useful.

If for no other reason, than they can guide the allocation of resources to family law courts and as a means of determining what can be done to help married couples remain together. So, after years of hearing that divorce rates have been falling, a new report suggests that maybe that isn’t so.

For decades, there was a strong social stigma attached to divorce, and for those who married prior to 1960, divorce occurred somewhat rarely. However, as those born in later years of the 20th century age into the 60-plus cohort, the divorce rate has been increasing.

This is probably due to many of those in the baby boom, who were never much on deferring gratification, deciding to move on once their children have moved out and they decide living with their current spouse is no longer, “where it’s at.”

The divorce rate among younger couples is deceptively lower, in part because of fewer of those couples marrying, and the greater prevalence of cohabitation in that age category.

One academic argues that we need better data, because the raw divorce rate no longer is a good measure of marital stability and that we should broaden the data collection to obtain a clearer picture of relationship stability.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Is the US Divorce Rate Going Up Rather Than Going Down?” Robert Hughes, Jr. March 11, 2014

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