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How many marriages end in divorce?

Trying to look up good statistics on divorce in the United States can be difficult. You can find rates of divorce and other numbers that seem reasonable, but they may be completely irrelevant to your life. The rates of left-handed people born in February who got divorced in 2021 probably don't interest you all that much. 

Using the internet is one of the most common methods of performing any kind of research currently. If you look up divorce statistics and rates on your favorite search engine you are likely to be swamped with articles, papers, and research studies that not only aren't helpful to what you are going through but may confuse you more than you already were. 

Finding out what leads to a divorce is probably more interesting and helpful than finding out how many marriages end in divorce. If you can figure out the cause of the impairment in the marriage you can probably reduce the symptom of that impairment, i.e., marital problems that will likely lead to a divorce. We are not in the business of pushing people to get divorced at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Rather, we want to help you wherever you are in your marriage. 

If you are already in a position where your mind is made up and you believe that a divorce is necessary, then working to maximize your opportunities in the divorce to better yourself and your children is probably what you need to focus on. If you are in a position where you think that your marriage can be saved, that’s great. You should be looking for concrete steps for you and your spouse to take to save your marriage- whether that is through direct communication, counseling, therapy, and anything in between. Hoping or feeling that your marriage is trending in the “right direction” won’t cut it. 

You probably don’t have time to go through all the information that you could find online about divorce rates and how many marriages end in divorce. We have all heard other people say that fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. I'll save you the trouble and tell you that almost none of the articles that we read before writing this article show that 50% of American marriages end in divorce. It is almost certainly less than 50%. Depending upon your income level, educational background, and other factors the likelihood that your marriage ends in divorce is probably much less than 50%. 

Still, let's take some time to explore what divorce statistics tell us about divorce in Texas. It is useful to have some basic information in our back pockets before we start to examine why people get divorced, which to me is the more interesting question to ask ourselves. 

Are fewer people getting divorced now than in prior years?

Yes, fewer people are getting divorced in 2022 than in prior years. The divorce rate has been steadily declining since 1980. Keep in mind that this also coincides with a marriage rate that is also decreasing significantly. You can also look up articles about how more people are cohabitating with a partner in 2022 than are living with their spouse. This is not a comment on that phenomenon or a judgment on whether cohabitation is better or worse than marriage. However, it would be a mistake not to mention that while divorce rates are decreasing the marriage rate in our country has been decreasing for at least two generations. 

This does not mean that family courts are wanting for business. Rather, family courts are chock full of divorce cases on their dockets every day. If you are interested, take a day off from work and head down to the Harris County Civil Courthouse. Look up the family courts on their directory by the elevators and then take the elevator (or the stairs if you want some exercise!) to see the courts in action. Before the 9:00 docket call, you are very likely to see a very full gallery full of spectators and chairs full of lawyers in front of them. Even with fewer divorces, we are still a culture and society where plenty of divorces are going on. 

So, with divorce rates declining but plenty of divorces still going on, how can you work to avoid divorce at all costs? Sometimes you cannot avoid a divorce. It takes two to tango and also to build a strong marriage. If you are committed to doing so but your spouse is not then it isn't much you can do to save your marriage despite your best efforts. With that said, you do not need to sit around and worry about divorce. All you can do is your part to create a strong marriage. The rest is reliant upon factors beyond your control. 

Here are those factors in no order. At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we talk with our clients extensively about their marriage, the problems in the marriage, and why they are seeking a divorce. Beyond all of the other parts of your life, these factors probably have contributed a great deal to why you are interested in learning more about divorce. Control the controllable. Take these factors into consideration and see what you can do from your vantage point to help strengthen your marriage. The rest is probably out of your control. 

We know how difficult marriage can be at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. A happy marriage may be the thing you want more than anything else in the world. However, you may have limitations that exist in your life that are preventing you from achieving that goal. If you want to learn about your circumstances and how your life may be impacted by a divorce, then please reach out to the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan for a free-of-charge consultation.  

Commitment problems

To have and to hold. Through sickness and in health till death, do your part. These are common phrases that are listed in marriage vows taken by people across the State of Texas every single day. We have heard them in our own lives, in movies, and television shows. We could probably recite the marriage vows by heart. Marriage is a commitment and one that we are supposed to take seriously whether as a religious rite, the secular act of the government of a combination of the two. However, commitment issues are a major factor in why many people get divorced in Texas. 

Even after agreeing to be married, some people will always have one foot out the door or an eye cast toward different options and opportunities. Maybe your spouse had been texting or sending social media messages to an old girlfriend throughout your engagement, but they just couldn’t stop doing it during your marriage. At the first sign of trouble, your spouse began to engage more with this person until it began to harm the quality of your marriage. Not showing a commitment to your marriage and your family may be a leading cause of divorce in Texas as far as I am concerned. 

Can’t agree to disagree

Do you and your spouse argue often? I think all of us who are married will admit to the occasional back-and-forth between ourselves and our spouses. It is easy enough when you consider the close quarters and difficult issues are two important factors in most marriages. When you have issues regarding health, family, etc. on the ability it is only normal to expect that arguments can and will ensue. Where you find that these arguments lead to divorce is when the arguments don't stop and there is no trust between partners. 

If you get the impression that your spouse is arguing with you more out of sport than out of desiring what is best for the two of you then you know that there may be problems in the relationship that go well beyond the specific topic that you may be worried about at that moment. Many times, you will argue about something and your spouse will continue to bring up the disagreement and the particular subject over and over again. This happening in your marriage can be a disaster for your relationship especially if you are already on shaky ground as far as trust is concerned. 

Infidelity

We have already discussed this topic to an extent but let us be clearer with you now. Infidelity can take on many forms. Financial infidelity means your spouse may be misusing community resources in ways that you were unaware of. Sneaking around to purchase items at the store without your knowledge is one thing that could mean financial infidelity in your relationship. It could also mean hiding debts from you- or even hiding that he or she has taken out debt in your name without your knowledge. These are all legitimate concerns when the value of a dollar has never been more important. 

Infidelity also means problems with getting involved romantically with a person who is not your spouse. This is the most well-known type of infidelity and causes its fair share of divorce filings. We don’t need to get into the reasons why infidelity may be a problem in your relationship. However, when it becomes an issue for you all it can almost certainly sink the marriage without a moment’s notice. As soon as your spouse begins to cheat it is only a matter of time before some fissure or crack in the relationship that already existed bursts open. 

Not getting out of the marriage what you expected to

What did you think marriage was going to be? This is an important question that a therapist or counselor may ask you if you were ever seeking help from someone to repair your marriage. Finding out what you had thought the marriage was going to look like is important. Did you think marriage was going to be like something that you saw in a movie? Or did you think it would look like the relationship that your parents shared?

Either way, determining what your expectations were of marriage is important. Marriage is something that you constantly need to work on with your spouse. If you cannot do so then there is little opportunity for the relationship to improve. Relationships, especially marriage, do not stay neutral. Relationships are either improving or getting worse. You need to commit to improving your relationship with your spouse to see any real improvement especially if you have already experienced problems. If your spouse is not willing to work on the relationship if things are not going as planned, that is a bad sign for the future of the marriage. 

Differences in your personal lives

There are three subjects that I think it is important to be on the same page with your spouse on. The first is religion, the second is children and the third is how you are going to treat your in-laws. Many people get married and assume that their spouse will simply convert to their religion or faith background. When that doesn't happen problems can ensue. Sometimes we hear nice stories involving a child being raised in two faith backgrounds, but those situations are not the norm. Most of the time spouses end up fighting about how the religions conflict and how one is supposedly given preferential treatment. 

Do you want to have kids? If you want to have kids and your spouse doesn't don't expect their position to change dramatically. Marrying a person with the assumption that he or she will change their opinion with time is a mistake. Do not be surprised to get married and find out that your spouse does not want to have kids. You should be clear with your fiancé about your expectations of children. Yes, circumstances do change and with that change in circumstances, you may see a change in opinion on having kids. However, do not expect massive changes to occur over time. 

The last issue is how you all are going to handle your families, and more specifically handle your in-laws. Does your mother tend to overstep her boundaries like they didn’t even exist? If so, then you and your spouse need to be on the same page about this. If your spouse is a mama’s boy, then you shouldn’t expect him to push back against his mother if she decides to overstay her welcome at your house or even tell you how to parent your children. Having an agreement about how you all handle situations like this involving in-laws is incredibly important. 

Abuse in the marriage

Finally, abuse in the marriage is one subject that almost surely will spell the end of the marriage. If not immediately then almost certainly throughout the long run abuse in the relationship is a disaster for the stability and longevity of the marriage. Trust, happiness, security, etc. All these positive qualities in a functioning marriage vanish once you and your spouse begin to hit one another. 

If you have been the victim of abuse at the hands of your spouse, then you do not have to take this lying down. Rather, you can reach out to community resources to salvage yourself. Worry about your marriage in another lifetime. Keep yourself and your children safe by having an exit route planned. It does not take much to have your spouse go over the edge and start engaging in harmful behavior like this. Instead, prepare a place to stay, exit route, and other preventative measures to keep safe during very uncertain times. 

Closing thoughts on divorce rates in Texas

Again, you can cite all the statistics you want on this subject but only one marriage ultimately matters when it comes to divorce in your life: your own. You and your spouse have a direct say in whether you get divorced. Ultimately all it takes is one of you to want to file for divorce. Once the marriage problems get to that stage then it just takes one of you to want to divorce for that to occur. 

Until then, you both can work to improve your marriage and avoid divorce. Statistics can tell you a story but not the entire story. You and your spouse can avoid the trend toward divorce if that is your goal. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time, a popular motivational speaker once said. Instead, focus on a specific goal in your marriage and then aim to achieve it. Do not assume that your marriage is doomed just because some factor or issue does not appear to be trending in your favor. Rather, take stock of what you can in your position to improve your relationship. 

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family's circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case. 

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