Divorce in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

In the United States, there are two types of divorces recognized by court: the absolute divorce and the limited one. The former requires some evidentiary proof of wrongdoing or misconduct on one spouse’s part, and results in judicial termination of the marriage. The latter refers to the termination of cohabitation right, but the court withholds from dissolving the matrimony.

In the U.S. the divorce rate almost tripled from the 1960s to the 1980s, from 9 divorces to 23 divorces per 1,000 married women. Since 1981, then trend has been decreasing by nearly 30 percent, with 2016 ending with just over 800,000 divorces out of 2.25 million marriages. at the same time, the marriage rate has declined dramatically, which is probably the main reason for this. The divorce rate in 2016 thus stood at 3.2 per 1,000 inhabitants, with Oklahoma reporting the highest divorce rate of all federal states. With nearly 4.6 million divorcees in 2016, the age group ranging from 65 to 74 years old has seen the highest number of divorces among Americans.

During the process of divorce, the procedure of the division of property between spouses can be the most complicated part. Nowadays, modern division of property aims for a fair marital assets division. Nonetheless, if such an equitable settlement is not met, financial support of the spouse (known as alimony), or, if children are involved, child custody and child support are negotiated in the divorce settlement. In 2017, there were about 20 million children living with one of their parents, the majority living with their single, divorced mother.

One of the most expensive and most controversial divorces took place between the business mogul Rupert Murdoch and his then-wife, Anna Murdoch - now Torv -, in 1999. It was reported that Torv ended up with 1.7 billion U.S. dollars as part of the divorce settlement.

Although people’s views about divorce have changes significantly in recent decades, there is still a large portion of the population that sees divorce as unacceptable, whereas a remarkable 19 percent of Americans believe it morally wrong to get one. When asked about who’s to blame for their faulty marriage, more than half of divorcees said it was their spouse’s fault.

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