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Divorce rate trending downward

For people in Massachusetts and throughout the country, the divorce rate is the lowest it has been in almost 40 years. According to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, in 2015, there were 16.9 divorces per 1,000 women over 15 who were married. In 2014, it was 17.6. In 1980, at the highest point, there were nearly 23 divorces per 1,000 women.

Furthermore, marriage rates are slightly higher, so although there is not necessarily a relationship between the numbers, experts believe both might be stabilizing. However, marriage rates are still not as high as they once were. In fact, experts believe that one reason for the lower divorce rate might be that more people are choosing to live together rather than marry.

Ultimately, some experts also caution that any individual marriage still has about a 50/50 chance of success. Studies also show that there is wide variation in how long marriages last depending upon demographics. For example, people who are better-educated and who have higher incomes tend to divorce less. Some states have higher or lower divorce rates as well. In Washington D.C., where the divorce rate is the highest, there are 30 divorces per 1,000 marriages.

When people begin to contemplate divorce, they may feel overwhelmed by the number of changes ahead. They might wonder how their finances will change and how often they will see their children. A person's standard of living may drop in a divorce. Both assets and debts must be divided. People can negotiate these issues with their spouse or they can go before a judge. Working with their spouse to make these decisions may lead to an outcome that both are more satisfied with, and mediation may help if the two are in dispute.

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