Divorce Rate Lowest in Northeast, Highest in the South

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Divorce Rate Lowest in Northeast, Highest in the South

According to the latest U.S. Census information as recent as 2009, the divorce rate is the lowest in the Northeast and the highest in the South. This all comes out of the new report the bureau is now generating, Marital Events of Americans. 2009 was the first year data was collected for this report. This document surveyed Americans 15 and older about marriage, widowhood and divorce.

Divorce rates are lower in the Northeast because people put off first marriages longer and there are less marriages occurring in that region. In the South, more marriages occur so the divorce rate is therefore higher.  The Southern states with the highest divorce rates for men were Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas. The Northeastern states with the lowest rates of divorce for men were New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Southern states with the highest divorce rates for women were Kentucky, West Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Northeastern states with the lowest divorce rates for women were New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The report uncovered some other interesting findings. Children of divorced parents were 75% more likely to live with their mother than their father. 28% of Children whose parents divorced in 2009 were more likely to live below the poverty level. 23% of Women were more likely to need public assistance after divorce. 15% of men had a greater chance of needing public assistance. 22% of women who divorced in the last year were more likely to be in poverty, compared to 11% of men.

Previous to this report, information on marriages and divorces was collected at the state level through collecting marriage and divorce certificates. These certificates were passed on to the vital statistics system of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Then in 1996 the NCHS and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ceased collection of these records. This latest report taken up by the Census Bureau is meant to fill the gap. If you’re going through a divorce and want advice, read the book, The Divorce Survival Guide: The Roadmap for Everything from Divorce Finance to Child Custody by Calistoga Press.

Red Flags with Dollar Signs on Them

Young couple worrying over finances

Red Flags with Dollar Signs on Them

Your spouse’s debt can really wreck you financial future. So much so that people are avoiding certain financial behaviors in others, and with good reason. Who wants to be weighed down by another’s irresponsibility? Here are some red flags with dollar signs on them; behaviors that let you know this person is bad with money. If the one you’re dating carries along some huge credit card debt and they aren’t making any headway on it, be afraid, be very afraid.

It’s not that you shouldn’t date someone with debt. Everyone in the modern world has some kind of debt to a certain extent. What is alarming is the lack of management. Everyone needs to manage their debt. A report by the National Marriage Project in 2009 concluded that debt destroys marriages. No matter what socio-economic class, race, or ethnicity, it’s debt that wipes out marriages. So hitching yourself to someone who has a lot of debt may be a recipe for an eventual divorce.

Do you know what makes the likelihood of divorce rise 45%? Thinking your spouse is spending too much. If you notice the person you are dating has horrific spending habits, they go for expensive trips, spa treatments, shopping sprees and other luxuries they can’t afford, to no abatement, put the brakes on that relationship. You’ll find the common account cleared out before the bills are due. Sometimes couples have different outlooks when it comes to money. One person tries to save as much as they can. The other feels that you can’t take it with you when you’re dead, why not spend it now? But these two vastly different attitudes will tear you apart if you aren’t careful. You have to manage it correctly. It takes a lot of talking, rule making, negotiating, and compromising.

If your lover is frequently receiving unemployment checks, beware. If they were unlucky, that is one thing. But if they keep finding and losing jobs, that’s another. If the latter is your sweetie’s case, kick them to the curb no matter how sweet they appear, unless you don’t mind supporting them. They may be immature, have a hard time getting along with others, or have commitment issues. Whatever the case, it doesn’t sound like good qualities to have in a relationship. For advice on improving you and your partner’s financial situation read, Debt-Proof Your Marriage: How to Achieve Financial Harmony by Mary Hunt.

Divorce Regrets for most People are the same

regrets

Divorce Regrets for most People are the same

Everyone feels the same emotion when they get married. They are bursting with love. But the emotions that follow divorce can vary from confusion to anger, resentment, envy, depression and regret.  The interesting thing is that the regrets most divorced people feel are the same or similar according to research out of the University of Michigan. Psychologist Dr. Terri Orbuch conducted a study with 373 newlywed couples as participants. 46% of these couples divorced in later years. To Dr. Orbuch’s surprise, almost all the participants who did divorce had the same regrets.

The number of divorced participants surveyed after their divorce was 210. 44 of the participants who originally divorced remarried. The first regret was not showing the love. Show your partner love, especially those little daily ways. Saying “I love you,” holding their hand, hugging and kissing and being attentive and supportive. Compliments and doing things to keep your spouse engaged in the marriage are quite important as well. But doing little things each day can add up to quite a lot of love.

For the majority of married couples, both inside and outside this study, money was the single most contentious issue, leading to divorce. Dr. Orbuch suggests that married couples discuss money issues not only when the bills are due but all the time. When you have high debt or low debt, whether it’s tax season or any other season have periodic conversations about money, set a policy you both can live with and enact it sincerely, never straying. Letting go of the past is another problem that can lead to a split. Whether it’s jealousy over a partner’s ex, a childhood trauma that causes trust issues, problems with how the in-laws treated you last Thanksgiving, or an argument that happened a year ago, let it stay in the past. Don’t drudge it up. If you are having a hard time with it, talk to a friend or start journaling. Blaming is another surefire way to get the divorce papers filed. Don’t hurl blame at your spouse. Find ways to address issues more collaboratively and constructively. Lastly, lack of good, solid communication in a marriage can spell its doom. Learn how to communicate effectively and in more ways than one. For more on preventing divorce read, Fighting for Your Marriage: The Best-Selling Marriage Enhancement and Divorce Prevention Book by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, and Susan L. Blumberg.

The Marriage Gap is a Good Thing

cohabit

The Marriage Gap is a Good Thing

The state of marriage has undergone tremendous change and continues to in American society today. The marriage rate has plummeted 37% in the last 40 years. A little over 400,000 cohabitated rather than got married in the U.S. in 1960. But as of the year 2000, some 5 million Americans cohabitate. Traditional marriage may be giving way to cohabitation as the dominant form of across gender relationships. Of course, couples can be intimate, close and plan a future together without being married. Many couples want more equality than in the past, even though how to achieve it alludes them, and many women believe marriage does not hold equality in its grasp. Another problem, marriages are too expensive, especially in this day and age where more young people are living at home, grappling with enormous student debt and unemployment or underemployment. Some want to own a home and be more financially stable before getting married. Many in the Gen X, Gen Y and Millennial generations grew up with their parent’s divorce in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and don’t want to go through that themselves. Lots in these groups also want to be older before having children, a big responsibility they don’t feel ready for.

But if you look into the reasons why listed above, it seems that the younger generations are considering different approaches to love than traditional marriage, or holding off on marriage for a host of well thought out and mature reasons. It’s good that young people want to be financially secure and emotionally ready before plunging into a huge responsibility like marriage and child rearing. 70% of those who live together for five years do end up getting married. So cohabitation in this view is making sure that the relationship is solid, happy, supportive and most importantly that it’s going to work. This also sounds sensible. Also, studies by the American sociological association found that women are just as interested in delaying marriage or living single, in nontraditional romantic relationships such as cohabitation and in non-cohabitation relationships as men. What’s come to pass is that young people are taking a responsible view on marriage. They refuse to be satisfied with divorces, financial instability, committing before they are ready, or living in functional marriages that lack passion or intimacy. Instead, they would rather wait. It will be a credit to them and society will become far more stable because of their foresight. For more insight on contemporary relationships read, Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha.

Marriage Doesn’t Fight Poverty

MARRIAGE-MONEY

Marriage has been on the decline in America in recent years, particularly due to the financial strain of many households and couples. And in the wake of the Great Recession poverty has made a dramatic rise. This is particularly worrisome considering the number of children caught in poverty’s icy grasp. Some have suggested that marriage and a stable family life could provide more financial stability and less poverty, particularly child poverty. But researchers are now finding that marriage doesn’t in fact fight poverty at all. For instance, research out of Ohio State University states that over two thirds of single mothers who married divorced somewhere between 35 and 44, leading to more financial hardship than if they had just stayed single. The mates available to women in lower income areas provide little financial stability. The Ohio State researchers found no further advantages to single mothers who remarried. Though it may seem like a step in the right direction, just because a couple is married, doesn’t mean they provide a financially stable household. And how stable is the relationship? Studies have shown that children growing up in high conflict households are much worse off than single parent ones.

Instead of supporting marriage, there are lots of other ways to fight poverty. Investing in education, particularly sex education will help alleviate the problem. Financial education and how to handle money in a responsible manner could help too. Investment in free or subsidized contraception for young mothers will help stem unwanted pregnancy. More employment programs and job skills programs, investment in research and development to create new industries, paid job leave, universal daycare and preschool, raising of the minimum wage would all help stem the tide of poverty. Breakfast and lunch programs can also be essential in bringing and keeping children in school. As for marriage, there should be relationship education in schools so that students can learn about issues surrounding a healthy, stable, and happy relationship. Mentorship opportunities should also be available to single mothers with children. Putting people together who aren’t going to last, who are just going to get divorced will serve to increase the poverty issue. Instead, let’s educate people about relationships, love, marriage and children. Let’s support programs to help those in need to help themselves. And let marriage be a committed union for love as it should be instead of for financial stability which will never keep two people together or provide for a happy household. To learn more about financial hardships read, The Other America: Poverty in the United States by Michael Harrington.