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80 Divorce Facts and Statistics Couples Should Know

Sophie Simons
January 24, 2024

The statistics on divorce are always surprising, even if the divorce rate has been steadily declining since the 80s, but they have also risen in communities that were not too keen on divorcing some decades ago.

The numbers in this article could shed some light on the institution hailed as the backbone of the family and, by extension, society. 

80 Surprising Facts and Statistics About Divorce

  1. The earliest laws regarding divorce are believed to have been carved on stone by King Hammurabi of Babylon, or at least during his reign in 1760 B.C. A man could simply divorce his wife by stating, ‘You are not my wife.’ He was then required to return the dowry paid and pay an accompanying fine to effect these changes. Women, on the contrary, needed, but women needed to file a complaint. (Source: Philly’s Esquire
  2. James and Elizabeth Luxford were the first couples to legally get divorced in 1639 on the grounds of bigamy and deception. (Source: Levy Law)
  3. England introduced divorce laws in 1858, but folks found it too expensive and opted to stay married. Source: Forbes Solicitors)
  4. Some of the most common universal grounds for divorce have been adultery, abandonment, criminal conviction, cruelty, and mental illness, but now most countries are abandoning them and allowing couples to divorce on mutual consent or/and without fault. (Source: Wikipedia)
  5. How much will a divorce set you back? Median figures in the US are $7,000 for reasonably easy cases. Complicated cases will usually cost way more. (Source: Forbes)
  6. Over time, information became available online, and most people realized they could do most of the divorce proceedings without lawyers. DIY divorces became a thing. (Source: MoneyHelper)
  7. Divorces were quite hard in the 20th century, so Nevada created a haven that allowed divorcees to resume normalcy within a few months of divorce. Reno in Nevada became the "Divorce Capital of the World." (Source: Reno Divorce History)
  8. In the 1800s, men simply needed to prove adultery, and the name of the person the wife was committing this sin with to be granted a divorce, while women had to attach more faults such as bigamy, desertion, and cruelty to be heard. (Source: Vardags
  9. Divorce rates have been declining for the last two decades for various reasons. (Source: CDC)
  10. A landmark case in the distribution of property after divorce saw changes that would allow the wife half of what the couple accumulated during the marriage. Before that, her settlement would be based on needs regardless of her contribution. (Source: Wikipedia)
  11. The Maldives has the highest divorce rate at 5.5 divorces per 1k marriages. India has the lowest with 0.01. Women's empowerment is credited for the higher divorce rates in most countries. (Source: World Population Review
  12. Recent changes, such as reduced stigma on divorcees, have led to an increase in the rates of divorces in Asia. (Source: Research Gate)
  13. Some research shows more religious countries have lower rates of divorce. For instance, the Scandinavian countries have slightly higher rates in Europe, while their counterparts grounded in Catholicism see declines yearly. (Source: Evangelical Focus
  14. The divorce rate in the US is currently at 2.5 per 1,000 people. (CDC)
  15. Divorces have increased in sub-Saharan Africa, with Egypt taking the lead. Women are the ones initiating these dissolutions. (Source: Wiley Online Library)
  16. The rate in Australia is at 2.2 for every 1,000 people. (Source: Australian Family Law
  17. Mexico leads the Latin American list with 1.3 divorces for every 1,000 people. The laws have loosened, making it easier to work through a divorce from start to finish. (Source: Springer Link)
  18. Russia has been experiencing rising rates of marriage dissolution lately, with 1 in 172 marriages expected to end in the next 12 months. (Source: New Cision)
  19. Women have been calling time on their marriages for a while now, with at least 62% of the cases being initiated by the fairer sex. (Source: Independent)
  20. One of the reasons women initiated divorce was a lack of fulfillment where their expectations of the union were unmet. (Source: Today)
  21. Toxic criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling, and contempt are the leading signs of a couple headed for divorce. (Source: Today)
  22. 37% of couples spoke to a therapist before starting their divorce process. (Source: Gottman)
  23. Most couples wait until lots of troubles have hit their marriages to seek professional help, fast-tracking the road to divorce since so much bile has accumulated by then. (Source: Kyle Benson)
  24. Fewer men initiate divorces when compared to women, probably due to the health benefits attached to marriage. (Source: Harvard Edu
  25. A marriage ending in divorce will likely last 8 years before the couple folds. (Source: Goldberg Jones)
  26. Most people do not wake up and take action on divorce. About 40% said they raised the issue with their spouses before taking action. It is unlikely that both parties would be thinking of divorce simultaneously. (Source: Your Divorce Questions
  27. Thanks to the destigmatization of divorce, most divorcees remarry after about 3 years. (Source: Pew Research)
  28. Couples reconnect and remarry sometimes after divorce. (Source: Psychology Today)
  29. Iowa has the lowest rates of divorce, while Arkansas has the highest. (Source: WF Lawyers
  30. Residents of Northeastern states marry less and divorce fewer times, while their Southern counterparts divorce and marry more. (Source: US Census Bureau)
  31. Couples that marry younger are likely to end in divorce, mostly because they haven’t taken the time to know what makes them happy as individuals. (Source: NCBI)
  32. It has been observed that people surrounded by happy, divorced, or single people are likely to be more open to divorce. (Source: NCBI)
  33. Countries that oppress women or suppress their rights will likely have lower divorce rates. The same goes for countries where women are less financially empowered. (Source: Wiley Online)
  34. People may fail to seek dissolution of marriages when they heavily depend on their spouses. This makes them stay in unhappy unions. (Source: You Gov)
  35. Divorce rates are higher among couples with huge age gaps. (Source: Kelly Chang)
  36. People whose parents are still married in their adulthood have 14% lower chances of divorce in their own marriages. (Source: NCBI)
  37. Divorce rates are lower among college-educated couples. (Source: NLSY)
  38. Divorces and remarriages have created blended families; at least 16% of children live in these blended unions. (Source: Pew Research)
  39. Kids are almost always affected negatively by divorce, with preschoolers feeling responsible for the dissolution of the unit. (Source: Parents)
  40. How parents resolve their conflicts after divorce determines how their kids adjust and react. (Source: NCBI
  41. In today’s world, cyber-cheating will lead to one in three divorces. (Source: McKinley)
  42. Social media contributes heavily to divorces today, and divorce attorneys can accumulate evidence of cheating through these platforms. (Source: CBS News)
  43. Instances of ‘gray divorce’ have increased over the years, with women initiating most. (Source: NCBI)
  44. The world’s largest divorce settlement is Jeff Bezos' $38.3B. Bill Gates could have chucked more, but the final figure is not publicly known. (Source: Investopedia)
  45. The messiest celebrity divorce goes to … drumrolls… from one celebrity serving the other custody papers onstage to another getting a hefty check as spousal support after cheating. (Source: Us Magazine)
  46. Actress Jennifer O’Neill has been divorced the most number of times in the celebrity world. (Source: MSN)
  47. Celebrities who divorced after the shortest marriages include Cher and Gregg Allman after nine days. (Source: Buzzfeed)
  48.  Celebrities have lost quite a bit of money in divorce settlements. Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Michael Jordan, Mel Gibson, and Steven Spielberg gave up $76B, $38B, $168M, $850M, and $100M, respectively, to their ex-wives. (Source: Wikipedia)
  49. An uncontested divorce, where couples have little to no issues that need too much legal intervention, will take 31 days, while a contested one could take several months or even years. (Source: Bryan Musgrave)
  50. Second or third marriages have higher chances of ending in divorce. (Source: 
  51. The Philippines and Vatican City are the most difficult places in the world to get a divorce, thanks to Catholicism, which prohibits divorce. (Source: Korea Foundation)
  52. Divorced men seem to live shorter lives than their married counterparts because they seem to have more health issues after divorce. (Source: Collins Law)
  53. Women are financially worse off after a divorce. They lose up to 30% or more of their income, thanks to the joint resources they enjoyed while married, and will experience a lower quality of life than men. (Source: NCBI)
  54. Children bear the brunt of divorce in many ways. Financially, they go through some form of depression when the household income falls by over 28% since it has been observed they are primarily in their mother’s care. (Source: Heritage Foundation)
  55. The effects of divorce on children: teenage girls and boys may become more open to sexual behavior if their parents are divorced. They may view marriage as unimportant and prefer to have kids out of wedlock more than children from homes where both parents are still together. (Source: Marripedia)
  56. The effects of a divorce are only short-term if both parties handle the changes with respect and maturity. (Source: Evidence Review)
  57. Repartnering after a divorce is different for parents and their childless counterparts. 42% of mothers and 54% of fathers are likely to set out looking for love again. Childless couples are more likely to remarry. (Source: NCBI)
  58. Couples in a high-distress marriage experience increased joy and a better quality of life after a divorce. (Source: Wiley Online)
  59. Children fare just fine post-divorce if their parents co-parent well. (Source: Wiley Online)
  60. Lack of commitment, infidelity, domestic abuse, marrying young, financial instability, and substance abuse are some of the top contributors to broken marriages. (Source: Forbes)
  61. While some people believe they did their best to save their marriages, a few still blame each other when they end up divorced. (Source: Slepian Firm)
  62. Enough people get divorced because they do not take into account how much work it would take to make marriage work before getting in. (Source: NCBI)
  63. Some professions have higher rates of divorce than most. Gaming managers, bartenders, and flight attendants lead this list, probably because of their schedules. (Source: Forbes)
  64. Actuaries and physical scientists have the lowest rates of divorce. (Source: Forbes)
  65. Divorce rates are at a steady 30% for homesteads with an annual income of $200,000, but they decline steadily once income hits $600,000. (Source: Forbes)
  66. Lower incomes are associated with higher divorce rates. (Source: TandFOnline)
  67. The average age for men and women going through their first divorce is 30.5 and 29 years, respectively. (Source: Goldberg Jones)
  68. Divorce was higher among interracial couples that married in the late 80s. (Source: Wiley Online Library)
  69. Historically Black protestants have the highest divorce rate of all religious groups at 19%. (Source: Pew Research)
  70. Not even Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, could escape alimony when his marriage to Princess Haya bint al-Hussein ended. After a protracted legal battle, he was ordered to pay his ex-wife $728 million to cover the upkeep of their two children and security costs for the family. (Source: People)
  71. It’s more common for men to pay alimony, child support, and settlements after divorce, but the tables turn when the woman earns more. Some female celebrities - Madonna, Kate Walsh, and others - have paid hefty amounts to their exes. (Source: ABC)
  72. Equitably, but not necessarily equally, is how marital assets are distributed during a divorce. (Source: LawNY)
  73. Reality TV is almost all about entertainment, but marriages are being tested out in public, and as this survey on E showed, not all can stand the heat. (Source: E Online)
  74. Many couples wish they could afford divorce as they stick it out in unhappy unions for lack of choice. (Source: Independent UK)
  75. About ⅓ of divorcees regret their decision, especially when they rushed it. (Source: Gregg Lewis)
  76. While some regret dissolving their marriages, others wish they had done it sooner. (Source: Liberating Motherhood)
  77. The society can judge a divorced woman more harshly than it would a man. 80% of respondents to a survey in the UAE felt divorced women were to blame for failed marriages. The majority opined it would be hard for her to find a new partner because she was no longer a virgin. (Source: National News)
  78. 63% of divorcees feel they could have saved their marriages had they put in more effort. (Source: Forbes)
  79. What would some people polled think they could do differently to avoid divorce? 56% say they could work harder to understand their exes. (Source: CNBC)
  80. Cheating is a leading cause of divorces. Most cheaters regret doing it after it cost them their marriages. (Source: NCBI)

Conclusion

Marriage dissolution is usually the last step for most people after trying everything to have their unions, as no one in their right mind would break up a happy home. Distigmatization is helping people reintegrate into society without the shame that divorce has always carried, and we can only hope the future brings more freedom and acceptance to those seeking it.  

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Sophie Simons

Sophie Simons is a leading psychologist with a passion for enriching relationships. Through empathetic counseling and insightful guidance, she empowers couples and individuals to foster deeper connections, resolve conflicts, and create lasting harmony. Sophie's expertise in relationship advice has touched countless lives, making her a trusted source for building fulfilling partnerships.

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