Divorce Cliches Revisited

Some cliches everyone takes for granted about divorce may not be true.

  • Cliche: half of marriages end in divorce. While 40 to 50% of marriages do end in divorce, this number is skewed by serial divorcers, the folks who marry and divorce repeatedly. In the USA, the divorce rate has actually been trending down.

  • Cliche: living together cuts divorce risk. Probably not true, although it may depend on the reason the couple moves in together.

  • Cliche: second marriages are more likely to stand the test of time. Actually, no. With each failed marriage behind someone, the odds that their new marriage will end in divorce rises a bit more.

  • Cliche: divorce is very expensive. This depends on the couple, and how they handle their divorce. Divorce need not be expensive.

  • Cliche: all ex-wives get alimony. Definitely not. This depends on the particulars of the marriage. But permanent alimony is definitely becoming the exception and the emerging trend is away from alimony. And, under the right circumstances, it may be the wife doling out the alimony, rather than the husband.

  • Cliche: mothers nearly always get primary custody of the children. Definitely … once upon a time. Nowadays, custody is an all but obsolete concept. Other things being equal, many judges begin with an expectation of dividing timesharing between parents relatively equally. But it always depends on the particulars of each case.

  • Cliche: divorce is more prevalent in the US than in other countries. Pretty close to the truth. Only five other countries have higher divorce rates than ours.

Read more in this Woman’s Day article: 7 Divorce Myths—Debunked!