Recent news of the split between Bill and Melinda Gates took people by surprise. The Gates have been married 27 years and, unlike most couples, are billionaires. While divorce is not uncommon, it may be surprising to learn that a long-term marriage without financial woes can still unravel. Let’s explore some other divorce facts that may surprise you.
Other divorce facts that may surprise you:
- The month of January is often when people pull the trigger on their divorce. The holidays are behind and goals for the new year may include getting out of an unsatisfying relationship.
- The average divorce rate in the U.S. still hovers right around 50% for all marriages.
- For the past five or so years, the marriage rate has been decreasing as millennials are waiting longer to get married.
- The cost of getting a divorce is not going down. One recent study noted the average cost for hiring a divorce lawyer is $15,000 per person in the U.S. However, that figure can go up dramatically depending on the complexity of the divorce, the attorney you retain and how much litigation takes place. Highly contentious divorces can run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees. I have my own research on extraordinary attorney fees.
- Women file for divorce the most. According to studies, over 60% of divorce petitions are filed by women.
- Arguing too much and infidelity are leading reasons for marital separation and divorce. Granted, this might not be a surprise.
- Although studies show that divorces, including first divorces, usually involve people under 40, gray divorces are on the rise. Also known as a silver divorce, a gray divorce reflects the color of hair of the demographic getting divorced. These couples may have been married a long time. They may also have adult children and/or significant assets (like Bill and Melinda Gates). The reason for the uptick in gray divorces isn’t crystal clear. A recent Wall Street Journal article on the subject notes that reasons for older-age divorces are often different than for younger ones. Unlike the divorce fact above, acute conflict may not be present, but a desire is present to start a new chapter after children leave home or retirement sets in.
- Apps and online proceedings are proving to be useful for divorcing and divorced spouses. Thanks to the pandemic, lawyers, clients, litigants and courts had to quickly pivot to conduct business online. Zoom is being used for courtroom proceedings, mediation, and negotiation to hammer out custody arrangements, financial support and asset splits. Additionally, apps for scheduling and communication are increasingly becoming more popular among co-parents as they navigate kids’ sports, school, vacations and so much more.
If You Need More Self Help With a Divorce
Not much surprises me after nearly 23 years in practice as a divorce attorney. If you are considering a divorce you can start by reading one of my books.
Sources: https://buncherlaw.com/2021/01/28/surprising-divorce-stat-facts/; https://www.fatherly.com/love-money/average-cost-of-divorce-breakdown-lawyers-fees/; https://www.wsj.com/articles/bill-and-melinda-gates-divorce-highlights-rise-of-older-age-splits-11620249377?st=nw4903u6r2kcvjj&reflink=article_gmail_share