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What are the statistics on the divorce rate in the United States?

People listening to or reading the news may hear passing mentions about the high divorce rate in the United States. Not all reports provide details about the percentage of marriages that end up legally dissolving. Since divorce is a legal process performed in Oklahoma and other state courts, records do exist to keep accurate track of divorced couples. A closer look at the United States’ divorce rate may reveal figures that are surprising.

Figures on divorce rates in the United States

The Center for Disease Control provides detailed information about recently available divorce rates in the United States. Per the CDC, there were 782,038 divorces in the country in 2018. The number reflects divorces occurring in 45 states and the District of Columbia, so the figures are not complete but do reflect the majority of Americans. The CDC breaks things down further by noting that the numbers represent a divorce rate of 2.9 per 1,000 people in the population.

The number appears high, but it may be less than the idea many people hold. There’s a notion that the divorce rate is 50% of marriages, which is not accurate. While divorce rates are high in the United States, they are not that high.

Fault and no-fault divorces

Another myth persists about the divorce rate: Many believe that divorces increased after the arrival of “no-fault divorce” statutes. Prior to the no-fault divorce era, a spouse had to prove the other spouse did something wrong to receive a divorce judgment. If a spouse was abusive or unfaithful, the other spouse could seek a divorce on those grounds. Of course, someone could still seek a fault divorce today, but in previous generations, no-fault divorces did not exist.

Although many people think that the arrival of no-fault divorces led to a greater divorce rate, in recent years, the divorce rates have dropped. In 2016, figures showed the lowest divorce rate in 46 years.

The divorce rate in the United State is high but not as high as some believe. Still, many couples decide that they can no longer make it work and seek a legal dissolution of their marriage. Anyone considering filing for divorce may find it worthwhile to consult with an attorney.