Is the 50% divorce rate a myth?

Categories : Family Law
August 12, 2021

You have probably heard that 50% of marriages end in divorce. This is such a common statistic that many people just accept it as fact — and even repeat it — without thinking about it very much. But is it accurate?

Many experts argue that it is not. They note that the study that made the claim happened in the 1970s. That was 50 years ago, so assuming that the rate is the same today doesn’t make much sense.

They also note that the rate was probably never that high. For instance, one report claims that it may have hit 40% in the 1980s and then started dropping. If the 50% rate was a prediction based on the rise in no-fault divorce, it never really came true.

Today, they say that it’s more likely that 70% of couples stay married and around 30% get divorced. That’s far different than thinking of your marriage as a coin flip. It suggests we should reexamine how we think about marriage and divorce.

Reports have also pointed out that the rate is certainly not the same for everyone. For instance, someone who gets married later in life, after getting a college degree, has a vastly higher chance of staying married than someone who gets married young and never attends college. Depending on which group you fall into, you may be closer or farther from that mythical 50% rate.

Divorce does happen, and it’s more accepted than it has been in the past, but it’s still wise to know the real statistics. You also need to know your legal rights if you do decide to get divorced.


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