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The Divorce Rate: Three Notable Divorce Trends of the 21st Century

The attorneys at GillespieShields practice family, employment, civil, criminal, and immigration law.

After analyzing the divorce rate and the causes of divorce, author Jeff Landers wrote the book, “Divorce: Think Financially, Not Emotionally.” His 2013 Forbes article compiles some of his research into 3 interesting divorce trends from the 21st century. As a large family law firm, our attorneys have seen these trends up close.

The premise behind the article is that as society and culture have changed, the way we divorce has also changed. These changes have affected the divorce rate, what age people divorce, and who initiates the divorce. Marriage in the 21st century statistics, which show fewer marriages, have also affected the divorce rate.

Why are Women Initiating Divorce?

The subtitle of Landers book is “What Women Need To Know About Securing Their Financial Future Before, During, And After Divorce.” He probably chose that angle for his book because one of the primary ways divorce has changed in the 21st century is that more divorces are now being instigated by women. In fact, Landers reported that a full 2/3 of divorce filings today are made by the wife.

It may be because women have more financial independence than ever before, so they are less tied to their spouses for economic security. However, other theories suggest that perhaps women are more focused on marital satisfaction and are less willing to sacrifice happiness staying in an unhappy marriage than in the past. Certainly having financial independence would help make that decision easier.

What is Gray Divorce?

There has also been a major increase in “gray divorce” over the past twenty years. Gray divorce is defined as divorce among people over the age of 50. Sociologists say that older couples are ending their marriages because people are simply living longer, healthier lives and are less willing to spend their golden years in unhappy marriages.

Are Divorce Rates the Highest They Have Ever Been?

Finally, a surprising trend that has shown up in the 21st century is that the divorce rate appears to be on the decline for the first time in decades. However, Landers pointed out that the real truth behind this is that marriage is actually less common than it was in decades past. Marriage in the 21st century statistics show that people are waiting longer to get married, if they are getting married at all.

Decreasing marriage rates are due to a number of factors. One of which is that more couples are choosing to live together in long-term relationships, which would have been scandalous a few decades ago.

These are all notable trends that have been observed during the first 13 years of the 21st century. It will be interesting to see how the trends evolve especially since a spike in divorces is predicted due to the COVID quarantine and the related recession.

Our Attorneys can Assist in Filing for Divorce

Should you be considering a divorce, our law firm is here to help make the process easier for you. The family law attorneys at GillespieShields have over 33 years of experience in helping couples file for divorce. Please call us at 602-870-9700 (Phoenix) or 480-985-4000 (Mesa) or contact us to request a consultation today.

Source: Forbes, “Not Your Mother’s Divorce: Three 21st Century Trends,” Jeff Landers, June 20, 2013

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