Facts About Divorce in America 2024

divorce rate in america

The word “divorce” can stir up a range of emotions, from a sense of freedom to despair at the end of a once-happy union. Most people can easily quote the now-outdated statistic that “50% of marriages end in divorce.” Although the true number is lower these days, the United States still leads the world in marital splits, but not for the reasons you might suspect.

Let’s examine some facts about divorce rate in America in 2024, including recent trends, potential causes, and where the divorce rate is heading in the future.

Quick Facts About Divorce in the U.S. Today

According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the current divorce rate nationwide is around 42%. Other quick facts about divorce in the U.S. include:

  • There are 86 divorces every hour, compared to 230 marriages an hour
  • Marriage and divorce rates in the U.S. are decreasing for a range of reasons
  • Estimates say 41% of first marriages will end in divorce
  • As many as 60% of second marriages won’t make it
  • Third marriages end in divorce 73% of the time
  • The average lifespan of a first marriage before divorce is eight years
  • Millennials are waiting to get married and stay married longer, driving the divorce rate lower
  • As many as 64% of men and 52% of women will remarry after divorce
  • Couples between ages 18 and 24 are most likely to split up

One trend on the rise is “gray divorce,” where couples over the age of 50 end their marriages. The American Psychological Association reports that these individuals face unique economic and emotional challenges when ending decades-long relationships. The rate has tripled since 1990, leaving partners struggling with dividing assets in high-net-worth divorces and ensuring their financial stability in their golden years.

Recent Divorce Trends in the United States

staying singleMost people think of divorce in the context of individual relationships, but it is often the result of social issues. A marriage is more than a partnership built on love between two people. It’s actually a legally binding contract with the government to formally recognize the relationship for the purpose of asset management and parental rights.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks the rates of marriage and divorce nationally as well as by state. While the divorce rate in Texas was as high as 5.5 per 1,000 people in 1990, it has dropped consistently in the decades since then. There was a small dip during 2020 and 2021, likely related to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a small increase to 1.9 divorces per 1,000 individuals in 2022 (the most recent reporting year). On a national level, the CDC recorded 673,989 divorces and annulments among a U.S. population of 278,154,454 people, which equals a rate of 2.4 divorces per 1,000 people.

While a stunning 70% of divorces are filed by women, they often cite that their male partners actually initiated the discussions. In decades past, women had fewer choices for living on their own and raising children without a partner. That has changed dramatically, leading women to choose a single life, with or without children, even with greater economic burden.

Did COVID-19 Affect the Divorce Rate?

During the lockdown, many couples spent more time together than they may have before since no one left home for work or travel. Kids were kept at home, and even trips for groceries were limited, meaning many may have discovered cracks in their marriages they hadn’t noticed before.

Anecdotally, many claimed there was an explosion in divorces once the restrictions were lifted.

However, once the backlog of cases was cleared, it became apparent that the divorce rate actually remained the same. While filings decreased during 2020 and 2021, when people were able to submit divorce petitions to the courts again, the divorce rate stayed steady at 42%. The top reasons cited for filing were lack of compatibility and lack of intimacy.

Current Trends Affecting the Divorce Rate

living with parentsSome of the trends affecting the U.S. divorce rate don’t have anything to do with marriages being dissolved. The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2023 America’s Families and Living Arrangements report indicated that as many as 56% of 18-24 year-olds are living with their parents rather than getting married. Up to 16% of adults between 25 and 34 years of age also remain in their childhood home.

More people are not getting married, either because of financial concerns, the need to care for aging parents, or focus on careers. This number has increased since 2021, when the Census Bureau report showed just 50.4% of adults living with a spouse. Additionally, some single parents have moved back in with parents or chosen to remain unmarried while raising their children.

Another key trend is not just those who remain single but those who cohabit as parents but never get married. The Pew Research Center reports up to 35% of parenting arrangements fall into this category. These couples may face critical legal concerns when trying to divide property and settle child custody concerns since they often must clear hurdles like paternity first.

More Adults Are Choosing to Stay Single or Live Alone

Even more adults of working age are choosing to live alone. Some are divorced and choosing not to remarry, but many have moved directly into careers after completing their education without spending time on pursuing marriage. Both men and women are marrying later in life, if at all.

Despite the economic disadvantages that unpartnered adults face, they continue to choose singlehood over marriage or cohabitation. This trend is interesting primarily because better financial circumstances tend to indicate longer-lasting unions.

Prenuptial Agreements Can Ease Divorce Concerns

One way to address problems that could lead to divorce before the wedding happens is to work with a family law attorney to develop a customized prenuptial agreement. During these discussions, couples address their beliefs and worries about finances, children, living arrangements, and other crucial topics. A prenuptial negotiation allows them to honestly assess whether they agree or disagree and work toward an acceptable compromise.

As many as 50% of prospective couples support or use prenuptial agreements to strengthen their unions before they begin.

These documents provide a roadmap for managing assets and dividing properties in the event of divorce. They can also serve as a template for determining child custody, spousal support, child support, and visitation schedules, taking the emotion out of the equation if the marriage dissolves.

Brazoria County Family Law Attorneys

The best approach for managing a domestic partnership or marriage in Texas is to contact a qualified family law firm to discuss your needs for a prenup, divorce, child custody, or other aspects that may affect marriage or children. Contact divorce lawyers at Terry & Roberts today to learn more about how we can help by using our online form today.

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