Marriages, Divorces on the Decline

In 2017, North Carolina had the 22nd highest divorce rate in the country with 3.1 divorces per 1,000 residents. The marriage rate was the 23rd highest with 6.8 marriages for every 1,000 residents. Among people 15 and older, 49 percent are married.

The divorce rate in the United States is dropping, but the marriage rate is as well. From 2000 to 2017, the divorce rate dropped from 4 divorces for every 1,000 people to 2.9 divorces. However, the marriage rate also declined in those years. In 2000, there were 8.2 married Americans for every 1,000 people. By 2017, that rate had gone down to 6.9.

Fewer than half of all people who are at least 15 are married while fewer than a third have never been married. Louisiana has the country’s lowest divorce rate with just 1.9 divorces for every 1,000 residents. It also has the third lowest marriage rate. The state with the highest divorce rate is Nevada, with 4.5 divorces for every 1,000 residents, followed by Oklahoma at 4.1.

People divorce for a number of different reasons although some are more common than others. Disagreements over finances, infidelity, substance abuse or domestic violence are all reasons marriages may end in divorce. The reason for the divorce may also affect how plans for property division proceed. For example, couples who are divorcing after disagreements over money may have significant debt that must be divided. If domestic violence has led to the divorce, the couple may be more likely to go to litigation instead of reaching a divorce agreement in negotiations. This may be particularly true if the couple has children since a parent may be concerned about the child’s well-being with a parent who has been abusive. A judge would consider what custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child.

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