The State You Live in Can Influence the State of Your Divorce

Aug 8, 2012 by

Divorce was first legalized in the United States almost 300 years ago. Since that time, divorce laws have gone through many interesting changes, as have the divorce rates. In 2008 the divorce rate in the United States was 3.5 (per 1000 people), the lowest since 1970, when no-fault divorce first became available. Today, the divorce rate in the United States continues to go down, though these rates vary widely when broken down by state.

The fact that divorce laws are created and enforced on a state by state basis, rather than federally, accounts for some of the differences in each state’s divorce rates. New York, for example, has the most requirements for obtaining a divorce, and the lower divorce rates in this state may be partially because of the difficulty in doing so. Nevada, on the other hand, has the highest rates of divorce, in large part due to that it is the easiest state in which to obtain a divorce.

Other factors that influence the differences in divorce rates between states include the age of first marriage and socioeconomic status. States that have consistently high divorce rates (besides Nevada) include Arkansas, Tennessee, Wyoming, Idaho, Florida and most of the states that make up the “Bible Belt” region of the United States, which is predominantly in the southeast and mid west regions of the United States. The populations in these regions typically have lower incomes, and tend to marry before the age of twenty.

The lowest divorce rates are found in the north and north east regions of the United States, with the lowest divorce rates consistently found in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Higher education levels, higher incomes and a tendency to marry at an older age contribute to the low divorce rates in these states and other states that share the same socioeconomic factors.

When considering a divorce, it is important to also examine the state laws while also taking into account the other variables that contribute to the necessity of such a course of action. And, while marriage is always preferable to divorce, unfortunately divorce is sometimes the best road to take, regardless of which state one happens to reside in.

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