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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Divorce Rate Debate

University of Michigan economics professor Justin Wolfers has been publishing reports for years claiming that reliable data indicates the U.S. divorce rate peaked in 1979, and has been in significant decline since. In fact, Professor Wolfers concludes based on current statistical trends, approximately 2/3 of all currently married couples will never experience divorce.

That is a weighty claim. If accurate, then why does the urban legend persist that over half of all marriages will end in divorce?

Relevant to this analysis is the fact that fewer young people are deciding to get married, those who do are waiting longer to tie-the-knot and, at least according to Professor Wolfers, on average, marriages are stronger and more stable today than 30-years ago.

The traditional bread-winner model [husband works outside the home; wife works inside the home] of the 1950s and 60s broke down, causing temporary upheaval reflected in the spiked divorce rate. Now, there is the so-called "love marriage" where couples, imagine this, actually love each other and get married solely for this reason, not for economics.

Of course, the factors involved in this calculus are sociological and thus, the subject of much debate. Academic researchers note that, significantly, two-thirds of all divorces are filed by women. The rise of feminism in the 1970s is offered as one chief plausible explanation for the so-called "spike" in the divorce rate of the 1970s and 1980s.

Professor Wolfers also has his statistical critics who claim that, given enough time, the divorce rate for those couples married in the 1990s and 2000s will "catch-up" with the 50% benchmark. These critics point to the fact that people married in the late 1990s and 2000 are not yet "empty nesters"; a common jumping-off point for weak marriages.

We here at the Law Blogger also wonder how the millennials, with their 30-second attention spans, will handle the challenges of long-term marriage. Rather than spike a divorce rate, the millennials may contribute to a sharp decline in the rate of marriage; electing just to stay single and connected to their own electronic private Idahos.

Federal funding allocated to the collection of data from the 44 states that maintain divorce statistics was eliminated in 1996, so national trends are more difficult to statistically verify unless the university gets involved; they are, to be sure. Nevertheless, states that collect divorce data do so reliably.

Here in Michigan, for example, when we complete a divorce proceeding, a Record of Divorce is required to be filed with the county clerk at the time the judgment of divorce is filed. The clerk then forwards the record of divorce to Lansing.

Let's hope that Professor Wolfers is correct that modern marriages are longer-lasting because they are stronger and forged out of love. There will always be a failure rate when two people tie-the-knot.

Divorce does not carry the same stigma that it did 30-years ago. If you are facing these tough decisions, a qualified divorce lawyer can ease the pain; our law firm offers free consultations to discuss your options.

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Anonymous Debate Chat said...

I have read this blog very carefully and get important points from here. Thanks for update regarding divorce.

August 1, 2015 at 4:18 AM 

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