Divorce In The United States
A divorce happens every 13 seconds in the United States. This startling statistic should be alarming to all Americans, but to two groups in particular. Divorce rates are highest among those aged 20 to 24, and those living in Nevada. Nevada, it appears, has the highest number of divorces in the country, while Massachusetts has the lowest.
Randy Olson, a popular data scientist, studied divorce rates last year based on data that goes as far back as 1870. He says that marriage rates have been decreasing over the years and are now even lower than the number of marriages in the 1870s. Divorce rates, on the other hand, peaked in the 1980s, but are still much higher than in the 1870s. He also adds that divorce rates tend to rise during challenging economic times such as the Great Depression in the 1930s, post-WWII, and during economic recessions. Based on a more refined 2011 study on divorce, the current annual divorce rate is 1.9% – that is, 19 marriages out of every 1,000.
Divorce in the United States is complicated because individual states have different divorce laws that can even vary from one county to another. Therefore if you are living in Las Vegas you should speak with a Las Vegas divorce attorney, and if you are residing in California, you should speak to a Californian divorce lawyer.
There are five kinds of divorce, namely:
- Fault / No-Fault
- Contested / Uncontested
- Summary Dissolution
- Default / True Default
- Mediated / Collaborative
Most divorce cases nowadays are filed as No Fault divorces, which means that both parties have done nothing wrong and simply wish to divorce. Under No-Fault divorce rules, the divorce court will refuse to hear about affairs, finger-pointing accusations, and other marital disputes. This is the recourse offered to most couples by divorce lawyers because it is quick and clean, with minimal damage to either party.
Interestingly, just last year, a New York judge ruled that a person could be served divorce papers via social media – and this is exactly what one woman did through a private Facebook message.
Sadly, the reality of divorce is that it causes real pain and emotional trauma. It also causes financial distress and economic upheaval that affects everyone in the relationship.
What to Do When Facing the Threat of Divorce
There are different ways to face the threat of divorce – you have to address each issue. There is the emotional drain that includes the shock of dealing with a permanent separation between you and the one you vowed to love for the rest of your life, and there are the logistics, or the practical side of divorce.
As an alternative, you could always seek solutions to the marital problems before deciding on divorce. Here are a few quick ways to handle the information that your spouse wants a divorce:
- Don’t panic.
- Avoid hitting back, verbally or physically, which is common when one is in pain or anxious.
- Listen to your spouse and try to understand their reasons.
- Decide if you can do anything to change the situation so your spouse will reconsider.
- Seek legal counsel.
- Ask your spouse to give you time to process everything. Typically, the person asking for the divorce has already come to terms with the idea long before telling you about it, whereas you are just beginning to start the process of the “emotional divorce.”
If there is nothing you can do to stop the divorce proceedings, your next best option is to sit down and calmly discuss the terms of the divorce. If there is any ill feeling between the two of you, it is best to hire a divorce attorney who can be objective and help you deal with the legalities of the dissolution of marriage. If both parties are amicable, a divorce mediator might be the better option.
There is a big difference between using a divorce lawyer and mediator. A mediator is a neutral third person that typically works with both spouses to create a mutually agreeable marital settlement agreement. Mediation sessions can be one-on-one, joint with both spouses or include a combination of both. Mediators are neutral and aren’t for or against any particular spouse. They are there mostly to facilitate discussions and assist with the marital settlement agreement. In contrast, a divorce lawyer is often used when the divorce is contested or both parties can’t agree on important issues that might affect them. Divorce attorneys are extremely knowledgeable about divorce law, alimony, child support, and child custody issues. They can assist with the separation of assets, liabilities and even taxes.
Mediation can be done in a day if both parties cooperate and are willing to compromise, or it can take much longer. As for a divorce with an attorney, the amount of time it takes depends on the willingness of both parties to come to an agreement.