Are Divorce Rates Decreasing?

Divorce Rates Are Decreasing with Younger Generation

The generation known as the “Millennial Generation” has changed many aspects of common American life, but their generation is making one additional remarkable change. Fewer of them are getting divorced than previous generations. In fact, divorce rates seem to be going down nationwide as a result.

This information comes from a recent study conducted by a sociology professor with the University of Maryland, Philip Cohen. He reviewed data of divorce filings between 2008 and 2016 and discovered that the U.S. divorce rate has gone down by 18 percent between those years.

This data produced by Cohen showed that couples under the age of 45 seemed to be approaching their relationships differently than individuals from the Baby Boomer Generation.

These individuals who were from both the Generation X and Millennial Generation, seemed to wait longer to get married, after first completing their education and establishing themselves financially and in their careers.

This delay in marriage has seemed to have caused fewer of them to get divorced as easily as members of the Baby Boomer Generation, many of whom were married at a young age, got divorced later only to remarry again at a later age.

The study also showed that many of these younger Americans feel more comfortable in longer-term relationships prior to getting married, delaying nuptials until they are at a point in their lives where they feel ready and prepared to get married. Previous generations were of the mindset that a couple needed to get married before cohabitating, which led to them getting married at a much younger age than today’s generation.

After getting married at a younger age, going through various life challenges, including job loss and children, the older generation often found themselves getting divorced more readily than today’s generation that is waiting to say, “I do.”

Some critics of this data have said that divorce rates are decreasing not just because the younger generation is waiting to get married but are a result of the aging population. As Baby Boomers are aging, they may be less likely to get divorced in their old age.

However, Cohen’s study looked at several factors relating to the divorce rate, including age, and his study found that the divorce rate over the same period of time, even controlling factors like age, still went down eight percent. Instead, Cohen’s study seems to point to a much larger cultural shift at hand leading to these lower divorce rates.

In fact, many of the Baby Boomers are still continuing to divorce at higher rates, even in their 60s and 70s. According to information from the Bowling Green National Center for Family and Marriage Research, also discussed in Cohen’s study, for individuals between the ages of 55 and 64, the divorce rate doubled between 1990 and 2015. The rate even tripled for individuals over the age of 65. His research called this trend “grey divorce,” although reports are indicating that these figures maybe leveling out very soon.

What is it exactly that is causing the younger generation to be less likely to file for divorce? By waiting, researchers say the couple is more mature and more educated. They have gone through more of life’s changes and challenges and have a better understanding of their identities by the time they do get married.

Interestingly enough, the study also showed that while fewer people are getting divorced in this generation, fewer of them are also getting married. Those individuals who had education levels no higher than high school level and lower-income demographic often chose to cohabitate without getting married, raising children together but never legally becoming husband and wife. These relationships are not necessarily more stable than a married relationship, but it does lead to fewer divorces.

What Does This Mean for Family Law Cases?

The lower rate of divorces nationwide for this generation does not mean that family law courts are becoming a thing of the past.

As stated previously, these individuals are still having children together and still cohabitate. As they end their relationships and have children with other individuals, different family law cases, specifically custody issues and child support, are filed in the family law system.

Therefore, while the divorce rate may be down, this does not by any means that the relationships of younger generations are any more stable than those in generations before them.

Contact A Family Lawyer Today

If you are considering filing for divorce, please contact family lawyers at Scott M. Brown and Associates. You can reach us by calling (979) 318-3075. We have offices in Angleton, Webster/Clear Lake, and Pearland.

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