Divorce. It’s a word we have all heard. We all know someone who has had one, going through one or are heading straight for one. You may even be that person. Sadly, in this day and age divorce is just as commonly spoken about as marriage, something that repeatedly shocks the older generation. Less than one hundred years ago, the word divorce was hushed down amongst people. It was almost seen as a crime. The British Royal Family saw the abdication of their King due to the nation’s refusal to accept him marrying an American divorcee. Fast forward 82 years and 2018 saw none other than Prince Harry himself marry Meghan Markle in front of a global audience, representing just how much the western view on marriage and marriages ending has changed over the last century. Not only for normal families, but also for the most powerful families on the planet.

No one is surprised to hear of someone being married three times. No one is surprised when they hear of someone getting a divorce. In fact, divorce has become so common that if you were to search the internet for “family attorneys near me” you would likely find numerous family attorneys just in your area. Yes, on a personal level it may be surprising, but the actual concept is not. Divorce now is so common and, in some ways,, convenient that people often feel that it doesn’t matter if they’re not marrying the person they want to spend their life with. We hear of scandals every day of people marrying for the sake of divorcing them just to take their money or marrying to entitle their other half of a visa or citizenship to a new country. Marriage is wrapped up in endless scandals and divorce is wrapped up in even more. This is why so many individuals and families rely heavily on family attorneys and lawyers.

Statistics on Divorce Rates

The statistic that half of all marriages end up in divorce is a well-known one. But is it true? Yes, the word “divorce” is now accepted in our western society and seems to be the norm, but are more people actually divorcing or is it our acceptance of the process that makes it seem like they are. Throughout the US, it has been found that peak divorce rates were actually around 1980, nearly 40 years ago, peaking at 40%. Since then it has been declining. Between 2006 and 2010, the chance of first marriages lasting 10 years was around 70% and roughly 54% for marriages lasting 20 years. In fact, in 2016, divorce rates throughout America dropped to an all-time 40-year low, whilst marriage rates continued to rise.

So, why is this? Well, to begin, divorce is highly personal, unless you are a front-page celebrity and have every detail, whether it be true or not, splashed all over the internet. It must be noted that some actually choose this to earn money. We definitely wouldn’t have witnessed something like this 100 years ago. Today, divorce is complex and different for every couple. It’s impacted by an individual's wealth and income, location, education and lifestyle habits. Marriage is also perceived differently from how it used to be. The majority of the western world chooses to have sex before marriage; many couples have children before marriage (or choose not to get married at all), some live in separate bedrooms or even houses and some opt for open marriages. These may have been decisions that were agreed upon before or during the marriage or they may be an alternative to divorce.

Divorce can be expensive and damaging to those involved, especially children. So many choose to avoid it, by staying married but living separate lives; many don’t get married at all.

What Has Caused This Change?

These changes in societal practices may explain the decline in divorces. As explained, divorces (and marriages) are impacted by external factors. This may explain why, throughout America, different states have contrasting statistics regarding marriage and divorce. Arizona had the highest rate of divorce in 2014, calculated to be roughly two in three couples seeking or considering a divorce. Interestingly, it was also recorded that Arizona actually had one of the lowest marriage rates (44 out of 50 states). Local laws influence marriage and divorce, as well. It’s illegal to divorce in various places around the world, resulting in low or non-existent divorce rates. Arizona is a no-fault state. This means that couples can seek a divorce for no stated reason or blame on one individual. In some places, evidence of breaking the rules of marriage, such as infidelity allows you to be eligible for divorce. In Arizona, anyone and everyone can divorce, whether or not there is a reason. It’s easy and can be less expensive. Arizona struggles with their economy; therefore, external stresses, such as finances may also play a role in the high statistics.

Either way, the high rates of divorce in Arizona create a haven for family law attorneys. An internet search for “divorce in Arizona” results in endless links and websites advertising the various companies offering divorce guidance and promoting their services. It’s a large sector of the economy throughout Arizona. People have recognised that it’s a common need for so many families. Not only divorce but family attorneys, as well. Phoenix, Arizona is home to many families and these families seek help when in hard situations. With the majority of lawyers being based in Phoenix, they know they won’t be out of business anytime soon. Is the constant decline in divorce a worry for these family attorneys? No. Marriage rates are increasing and everyone is encouraged to make prenuptial agreements, which need attorneys. Marriages constantly have various family issues, whether it is financial issues or damaging issues, such as domestic abuse. Also, people will continue to divorce; therefore, as long as there are families, there will be a need for family attorneys.