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Divorce Statistics: Myth vs. Reality

Divorce is a word that nobody wants to hear. However, chances are that no matter what walk of life you come from, divorce has affected you in some way. It seems as if divorce is everywhere and there appears to be no way of escaping it. Our perception of how much divorce truly affects our lives, though, does not seem to match up with reality. Let’s take a look at some of the myths that surround the idea of divorce and what the truth really looks like.

Myth: 50% of Marriages End in Divorce

The “50%” statistic has become the most quoted falsity about divorce. The United States divorce rate has actually declined over the past 30 years, according to an Attorney for Divorce in Salt Lake City, Utah. The truth is, when you filter out mail-order brides, Vegas drive-through marriages, and marriages between couples who have known each other less than a month, the divorce rate drops off sharply. Additionally, when couples are united in religious affiliation, personal finance philosophy, number of children to have, and the appropriate role if in-laws, the divorce rate drops to near zero.

Myth: Second Marriages Work Out Better Than the First

The common thought is that going into the second marriage, those who were previously married learned from their mistakes. They know why their previous marriage failed and look to improve upon these areas in their next relationship. This isn’t necessarily the case. Divorce rates actually increase to roughly 67 to 80 percent for second marriages. And if you were thinking third time’s the charm, think again, as third marriages lend themselves to an even higher rate than third marriages. Anecdotally, there are many exceptions, but evidently many of us are slow learners.

Myth: Mothers Are Almost Guaranteed Custody of the Children

This myth seems to be a result of the perception involving who should, according to popular opinion, get custody of the kids. Legally, both parents are legally entitled to equal time with the children, barring special circumstances. Other factors to play a part in the decision, such as the caregiving setup pre-divorce, past transgressions by one party, and what would be in the overall best interest of the children.

Divorce is a scary thing for anyone. Nobody wants to see their marriage fail and decisions are frequently stigmatized in the aftermath. However, do not let common misconception affect your idea of what is in store for your own relationship. Learn from others’ mistakes and don’t believe that your relationship is destined to fail. The reality is that a vast majority of wisely-entered relationships do last a lifetime. Don’t let fear of failure determine your decisions.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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