FLORIDA DIVORCE RATES ON THE DECLINE?
by Matthew Hunt
As a Family Law Attorney, I deal with Divorces on a daily basis, and it is sometimes baffling to see the never ending surge of couples rushing to the court house, or to an attorney’s office, to get a divorce. It seems more people are getting divorced and refusing to get remarried after going through an ugly divorce including what can be an ugly fight over children and property. The studies in the past have shown an extremely high rate of divorce, coupled with a decrease in the amounts of new marriages, despite an ever increasing population. Does this mean the new norm is to remain single, or to not marry your significant other?
However, a new report from the Department of Health shows slightly more people got married last year as compared to the year before, ending what was a decade long decline. The actual number of marriages and the number of marriages as a percent have been falling for a decade, but the year of 2014 saw three tenths of a percentage increase in marriages in Florida. Another interesting statistic to note is that while marriages are increasing, the number of divorces is also falling. The vital statistics report for last year shows that there were 54 divorces for every one hundred marriages. Not since 1960 have there been a lower percentage of divorces when compared to population. Before that, the lowest rate was in the 1930’s.
I will be curious to see if this trend continues, or if it is just an anomaly here in Florida recently. More importantly, with the recent Supreme Court decisions finding that Florida Statutes violate the Constitution by not allowing same sex couples the right to marry and/or divorce in Florida; how will this effect these numbers? One would think that the amount of marriages in Florida will now increase given the LGBT population that may pursue their right to marry, after this option had been absent in years prior. But interestingly, I am curious what effect on divorce rates, and/or divorce vs. marriage disparity will occur. Only time will tell, but with such a landmark change occurring in Florida and the LGBT community, it should be interesting to track the effect on Divorce rates in Florida, and if the recent decline continues
One trend that hasn’t changed: more people get married and divorced in Florida when compared to the national average.
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