THE BLOG
09/17/2013 05:52 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2013

Attorney's Take on Divorce in the U.S.

Marriage is one of those happy experiences most of us dream about. And for the most part our dreams come true; in Western society, about 90 percent of people marry by age 50. And, most of us would agree that good marriages are healthy for couples, both mentally and physically. Additionally, a household run by a happily married couple provides a healthy environment for children to grow up in. However, while most of us get to experience that big day, that promise we make "for better or worse" doesn't always last, and many of us also get to experience divorce.

The United States has the highest divorce rates in the world. A 50 percent number has been quoted for years as the divorce rate for first time marriages, but many would argue that this number has been decreasing and is closer to forty percent. But, it's a fact that if you are brave enough to give it a second try, the divorce rate for subsequent marriages is higher. In fact, divorce rates increase significantly every time a person gets remarried. And, whether it's fifty or closer to forty percent, there are about twice as many marriages as there are divorces. And, while it looks as though divorce rates for Americans are decreasing, so, too, are marriage rates.

These high divorce rates present a big concern; not only for the emotional anguish a divorce creates, especially if there are children involved, but the financial consequences can be devastating. No wonder more people are trying to figure out the reasons that cause divorce. And, there has been a lot of research to help identify the different reasons and factors associated with divorce rates. Denver divorce attorney, Donald Sisson, has many years of experience handling divorce cases and has seen too many divorces first hand. While Mr. Sisson has found that the reasons can vary as much as the individuals involved, he believes that the most significant factors for our high divorce rates in the United States are:

1. Lack of Education: With extensive research, experts have been able to determine that people with at least a college education have a much lower rate of divorce. Investing in higher education is one of the best ways to build the foundation for successful marriages.

2. Inability to work through Difficult Times: More American married people seem to have developed an attitude of thinking it is okay to quit when the going gets tough. Every marriage has difficult time periods and it often may seem easier to just walk away and quit then to work through the problems.

3. Young Age: It is a fact that younger ages increase the likelihood of divorce, particularly in the first few years of a marriage. Couples who decide to marry in their teens have a dramatically higher divorce rate then couples that wait tell age 21 and over. There seems to be a trend towards waiting until they're older to take the plunge; the average age of brides and grooms is getting older. Perhaps this will lead to a lower divorce rate too.

4. Lower Incomes: This factor relates very closely with lack of education. Statistics show that people with incomes of $50,000 or more per year have a much lower chance of divorce than people with annual incomes of less than $25,000. Finances are one of the more stressful parts of any relationship. Having a healthy income helps married couples avoid stresses that often lead to divorces.

5. Parents' Divorce: Unfortunately neither of the spouses has any control over this risk factor. Experiencing your parents' divorce doubles the chances that you will divorce your spouse as well. If both people in the relationship have experienced their parents' divorce it more than triples the risk of divorce.

6. Insecurity: Studies have found that there are specific personality traits that put individuals at a much higher risk for divorce. Researchers have found that the most significant personality traits that increase divorce rates is feeling insecure about yourself or self-worth.

In many cases, by the time the couple has hired attorneys it is too late to save the marriage. However, responsible attorneys will still attempt to persuade their clients to seek the best possible solution, which may mean marriage counseling. For that reason, it is important for both attorneys and those considering divorce to understand the reasons that usually lead to splits and learn from them.

Information provided by Donald Sisson, Denver, CO divorce attorney at the Elkus, Sisson & Rosenstein, P.C. family law firm.

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