There are Fewer Divorces Each Year

People just aren’t getting divorced like they used to. Believe it or not, the number of divorces has been going down in America for a while now. Despite the long-held semi-truth that about 50% of all marriages end in divorce, the numbers aren’t bearing that out lately.

The reasons are numerous. For a while, experts thought the younger generations just wouldn’t get married. With financial crises and low incomes for young people, it seemed likely they would just continue with the long trend of cohabitation and kiss marriage goodbye.

The numbers for marriages, however, have also been on the rise lately. It seems those millennials finally decided to tie the knot after all. And because they waited longer, their divorce rate is going down steadily.
So everyone is getting married and no one is getting divorced anymore. Are we living in a perfect marriage-friendly society all the sudden? Why didn’t we all get a card in the mail informing us of that fact?

Well, the reason is that, of course, we don’t live in such a society. There are still plenty of divorces taking place around the country (around 800,000 a year, in fact) to keep the divorce lawyers happy. And now, with international business and travel becoming more common, there is a whole new field for potential divorce: international divorce. That comes up when people from different countries want to separate after ill-advisedly saying “I do” in the first place.

International divorce is particularly tricky because the laws aren’t all uniform. There’s been an attempt to make a universal law to cover everyone everywhere who wants to get away from the love of their lives—it’s called the Hague Convention on the Recognition of Divorces and Legal Separations—but the U.S. has never signed on (it was agreed to in 1970), so those rules don’t necessarily apply here. Besides, U.S. divorce laws often come from the state instead of federal level. All the better for the lawyers, of course.

Despite this new glut of potential clients for the hardworking lawyers out there, divorce numbers are still going down all over the place. Since those millennials married later, they married better, and are more likely to stay together. With the economy improving, even with the average income remaining a bit stagnant, the numbers are likely to continue to drop.

Besides, that 50% divorce rate was always something of a fallacy. The truth is, most people stay married. Those who do divorce, however, tend to divorce multiple times, making the rest of us look bad. The problem is, the figures aren’t really that clear anyway. Some states don’t report divorces at all, and it’s not always clear if a divorce is the first or twenty-fifth.

So, it all comes down to this: when it comes to divorce, we were never as bad as we thought we were, and anyway, we’re getting better every year.