April 26, 2024

Navigating the Realities of Marriage and Divorce in the Modern Era: Insights from 2024 Statistics

By: Joel Feldman

As a divorce attorney, I find myself continuously drawn to the rich tapestry of data and insights we receive on the state of matrimony, and how it continues to shift and change. Forbes recently delved deep into the statistics of marriage and divorce in 2024, providing a nuanced perspective that resonates with my own observations in the field. I provide my analysis and key takeaways here, marrying empirical findings with legal expertise to illuminate the path forward in navigating modern relationships.

Dispelling the Myth of a Rising Divorce Epidemic

One of the most striking revelations from the Forbes article is the debunking of the myth of a purported rise in divorce rates year over year. Despite prevailing narratives suggesting an uptick in marital dissolution, the empirical evidence paints a different picture—a landscape characterized by stability and even decline over the past two decades. Since 2000, the divorce rate has actually decreased from a rate of 4.0 per 1,000 people to 2.5 per 1,000 people. This insight challenges conventional wisdom and underscores the importance of grounding our perceptions in data-driven realities. Divorce rates are not increasing in the United States.


Embracing Pragmatism in the Face of Uncertainty:

As I delve deeper into the statistics highlighted by Forbes, a resounding truth emerges—marriages, particularly second and third marriages, still remain at a high risk of ending in divorce. But the data above prompts us to make an important distinction between first and subsequent marriages. According to the data, those who wed multiple times face a far higher rate of divorce: 67% of second marriages are dissolved and 73% of third marriages are dissolved.


Empowering Individuals Through Financial Independence:

Beyond legal safeguards, the Forbes article underscores the importance of financial independence in mitigating the impact of divorce. As a divorce attorney, I have witnessed the ramifications of economic dependency within marital relationships. A partnership where one person is the sole breadwinner puts the other one at risk in a divorce proceeding. To me, the new data underscores the need for both spouses to embrace dual breadwinning, fostering self-reliance and resilience in the face of marital uncertainty. By prioritizing continuous education, upskilling, and professional development, individuals can safeguard their economic well-being irrespective of marital outcomes. It may be unrealistic for both partners to work full time, due to demands of house and child-care management, etc., but I would still encourage both partners to keep their skillsets fresh, to take on continuing education opportunities, and to welcoming freelance or part-time work where possible. This way, should they need to re-enter the workforce to support themselves and/or children, they will be that much more prepared and experienced.


Navigating the Complexities of Blended Families:

Blended marriages, a hallmark of our diverse society, present a unique set of challenges that demand careful consideration. From financial arrangements to custodial responsibilities (especially when each spouse brings minor children to the marriage), the intricacies of remarriage require foresight and clarity. Drawing from my experience, I advocate for open communication and comprehensive legal agreements to navigate the complexities of blended families. By addressing potential challenges proactively, couples can forge resilient partnerships that withstand the test of time. With this reality, I urge individuals to approach marriage with a pragmatic lens. It is imperative for couples to proactively safeguard their interests through measures such as prenuptial agreements to protect themselves in the face of this possibility. At present, 42% of adults support the use of these premarital contracts. In 2010 only 3% of newlyweds obtained used premarital agreements. By fostering transparency and foresight, couples can navigate the complexities of modern relationships with greater resilience and clarity. And in a good, strong partnership, this type of transparency and communication should be seen as a positive, not a negative.


We Still Believe in Marriage

The Forbes article is clear to mention that in spite of stable divorce rates, we still love love. As a society, our divorce rates are not decreasing, but our marriage rates are not either! In fact, 64% of men and 52% of women decide to get married again after their marriages have ended. We still believe in the sanctity of marriage, and still choose to marry and remarry at high rates. The institution of matrimony is alive and well.

Ultimately, by marrying empirical findings with legal expertise, we, as attorneys, can empower individuals to navigate the complexities of marriage and divorce with confidence and clarity. In my work, I remain committed to guiding clients through the intricacies of matrimonial law, ensuring equitable outcomes and fostering resilience in the face of uncertainty.