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Is the divorce rate really 50 percent?

You've probably heard many times that the divorce rate in the United States is 50 percent. Half of all marriage will fail, people claim. Is this true?

Some reports indicate that it's not. They point to the fact that the 50 percent statistic came from a census report that's now nearly 40 years old. It was carried out in 1980. It claimed the rate was climbing, had already hit 50 percent and people latched onto that number.

However, more recent reports claim it was only about 40 percent even in 1980, when it peaked. They say that the rate, instead of going up as predicted in 1980, has fallen since then.

For example, one study found that the odds that a person's marriage would make it for 10 years, at minimum, were a full 70 percent when looking at men who got married from 2006 to 2010. The odds were slightly lower for women, at 68 percent.

Even giving them two decades, or 20 years, the odds still sat at 56 percent for men and 52 percent for women.

So, it may be a matter of perspective. Certainly, the divorce rate does seem to go up when looking at longer marriages, nearing the oft-quoted 50 percent. However, some also claim that current trends mean about 66 percent of people won't ever split up after getting married. It will be interesting to see which predictions come true in the years to come.

One thing is certain: Divorce is still fairly common, even if the statistics that people quote are not completely accurate. It's important for those who are splitting up to know their legal rights when looking at property division, child custody and much more.

Source: Refinery 29, "Here's What The Divorce Rate Actually Means," Sarah Jacoby, accessed Jan. 03, 2018

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