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Divorce rate falls across United States

According to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau, divorce rates across the country are gradually falling. In fact, the average rate of divorce has decreased by approximately 5 percent since 1996. The Census Bureau officials behind the report say that the costly nature of divorce may have been a significant cause, especially within the context of a recession-weakened economy. Since the economic downturn began, states with high unemployment have generally seen lower divorce rates.

The report also includes divorce information by state. Maryland ranked 46th in the nation for divorce rates. The state sees fewer divorces than all but four other states, at a rate of 9.4 percent. This puts Maryland about 4 percent behind the highest state divorce rate in the country, which is at 14 percent.

Although researchers stressed the significance the economy likely had on divorce rates, the most common reason for a divorce was infidelity. Financial issues were cited in fewer cases, though it still contributed to a large portion of divorces, alongside communication issues, sexual incompatibility, and emotional, psychological and physical abuse.

The Census Bureau data also reveals that American men appear to be getting divorced later in their lives than women. While most recently divorced women were between the ages of 24 and 44, men generally divorced between the ages of 35 and 54. According to the report, economic problems following divorce more commonly affect women. The data shows that approximately 26 percent of recently divorced women are considered to be below the poverty line. The same can be said for 13 percent of recently divorced men.

Couples who are contemplating divorce should know that there are cheaper options available if there is a desire to keep a divorce battle out of a courtroom. Mediation or no-fault divorce can allow for a quicker resolution, but both parties need to be in agreement.

Source: NBC Washington, "Divorce Rate Falling Nationwide," John Wist, Feb. 8, 2012

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