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New Research Shows Decline in U.S. Divorce Rates

Divorce, just like many other matters of family law and other legal areas, is continually evolving. While new legislation and landmark decisions play a role in that evolution, the changing views, values, and behaviors of people are also big factors. In fact, newly published research from the University of Maryland in College Park is highlighting just how large of an impact societal trends can have on things like divorce.

According to the study, the national divorce rate in the U.S. dropped by 18% between the years of 2008 and 2016. The reason behind the change? As researchers, experts, and previous studies suggest: millennials. Here are a few reasons why:

  • They know it’s not older generations – Although there were initial theories that the drop in divorce may have been caused by older Americans, who would be expected to divorce less as they get older, the truth of the matter is that older generations are still divorcing at very significant rates. With data from Bowling Green University’s Family and Marriage research center, researchers from the latest study noted that older adults are still opting for divorce well into their golden years. From 1990 to 2015, they note, divorce rates doubled for those between 55 and 64 years of age, and tripled for those 65 and over.
  • Millennials are putting off marriage – Having grown up at a time when divorce rates were at their highest, many millennials have first-hand experience with divorce. Those experiences have largely changed the way they look at marriage, as many are now waiting until later in life, particularly after they earn college degrees, establish careers, and even buy assets like their first homes or apartments, to tie the knot. Those who do choose to get married once they’ve reached those types of milestones, researchers say, are more likely to stick it out.
  • Some millennials aren’t getting married at all – Previous studies have shown that marriage rates have been steadily declining over the years, though less so than divorce rates. According to researchers, that’s because more millennials are choosing not to get married at all, and instead are choosing to cohabitate long-term with their romantic partners, or co-parent as unmarried couples. In fact, the numbers indicate marriage rates are dropping most significantly among younger Americans with less education.

How the Numbers Help Us Help You

Research like this is invaluably important to bolstering our collective understanding of major trends, shifting views and values, and their impact on the “real world.” As a firm comprised of attorneys with over five decades of collective experience, our team at Moskowitz Law Group, LLC has personally seen and dealt with these changes over the years.

Staying in front of these trends, and tracking new studies and case law, enables our firm to provide the high quality support and representation clients throughout New Jersey and New York deserve. That’s of significant importance when it comes to knowing the common types of issues our clients will face as they navigate their divorce and family law cases.

For Older Spouses

The latest research may target millennials as the root cause of fewer divorces, but it also says a lot about divorce and the unique concerns older adults, who are still divorcing at high rates, will face when they pursue what’s been called a “grey divorce.” These include issues like:

  • Retirement – Retirement accounts, savings plans, and pensions become a critical source of income as we age. However, they are also subject to equitable distribution in a New Jersey divorce. As such, older adults have greater concerns involving their retirement savings, which are often among their largest assets due to the years they have been building them. Assessing, valuing, and dividing retirement funds and pensions can be a complex endeavor subject to varying rules and procedures, which is why experienced legal support is so important.
  • Property Division – Many older adults accumulate more assets than their younger counterparts. Spouses divorcing at an older age, therefore, have more to address when it comes to the division of assets in divorce. From vehicles and family homes, to investment properties, stocks and bonds, retirement savings, and even rare antiques of valuable collections, there can be a lot to dissect, classify, and protect in equitable distribution matters.

For Millennials

Millennials too, as the research shows us, have their own unique divorce and family law concerns. These often involve:

  • Prenuptial / Post-Nuptial Agreements – Because millennials tend to get married older than their parents did, they commonly enter into those marriages after accumulating some assets and / or debts. These can include their own fledgling 401(k) plans from having started careers, as well as household items, cars or trucks, homes or condos, and especially student loans. Because they also have more realistic views about marriage and the potential for divorce, many millennials are turning to prenuptial agreements to help address their concerns regarding property division before marriage.
  • Less Likely to Litigate – According to researchers, millennials’ views on marriage and divorce drive them to more quickly and efficiently end marriages that aren’t working out. This means they typically avoid heated disputes and litigation, which may have been more common among their parents, in favor of resolving important issues like asset division, child custody, and alimony amicably through negotiation and settlement.
  • Rights as Parents – With fewer millennials getting married, there are more cases of cohabitation and co-parenting between unwed couples. Unmarried parents can have unique family law concerns of their own when it comes to matters such as paternity, custody and visitation, and other parental rights.

Let Proven New Jersey Divorce Attorneys Guide You Through the Process

As attorneys who have been providing client-focused family law services for over 50 combined years, our legal team at Moskowitz Law Group, LLC has seen just how significant an impact changing values and social trends can have on divorce. By staying up-to-date with research, trends, and new adaptations of the law, we’re able to deliver the high quality service and support our clients deserve.

Whether you are a millennial, a baby bomber, or anything in between, our firm is here to help. Contact us to request a FREE review of your case. We serve clients throughout New Jersey and New York.