Have you heard that the divorce rate has fallen in recent years? As a general trend, it rose quickly when no-fault divorce laws started coming on the books, as divorce became far easier than it was in the past, and recent years have seen that rapid rise reverse itself to some degree.
There are a lot of ways to interpret this change. Are couples happier now? Are they less likely to get divorced because it doesn’t feel like a novelty the way it did to the first people to use no-fault laws? Are these adults children of divorce themselves, avoiding it because they have already lived through it once?
These are all valid questions to ask, and you can find specific examples to support them all. However, some research suggests that people just choose to get married less often.
For instance, despite the availability of birth control, out-of-wedlock births have also seen a surge. This may indicate that they are not all unplanned. Unmarried couples intentionally start families. That, in turn, suggests that they simply do not see the use in a legal or religious marriage. They still think of themselves as a couple — and as parents — in the same way.
That change in mindset could then lower the number of divorces, not because couples do not split up, but because they no longer need a divorce to do so.
As family situations grow more complicated and diverse, it is important for all those involved to understand their legal rights, especially when facing divorce, separation and potential parenting questions.