Why Is Divorce Declining in Florida?
By Space Coast Daily // July 1, 2022
Florida has long been known for its high number of divorces. However, a recent study shows that the divorce rate is declining in the state. So, what’s behind this change? Experts point to several factors.
Reasons For Florida’s Decreased Divorce Rate Over Three Decades
Below are just some of the factors contributing to lower divorce numbers in the Sunshine State. Each couple is unique, but some common grounds for keeping couples together are below.
1. The Economy
While many factors contribute to this trend, the economy is one of the most significant. In tough economic times, couples are more likely to stay together for financial stability. They may also be less able to afford divorce costs, such as attorney’s fees and court costs. Divorce can be costly; with the average cost of divorce running around $15,000, many couples can’t afford to split up.
Duval County, for example, charges a divorce filing fee of $408, and a divorce lawyer can charge anywhere from $100 to $250 per hour, and the average length of a divorce case is 28 months. For many couples, the cost of a divorce is too high.
Divorce can significantly impact one’s credit score, making it more difficult to obtain loans or lines of credit. Add to that the cost of dividing up assets and paying child support, and it’s no wonder that many couples decide to stay together rather than go through the legal process. Of course, not all couples can afford to divorce, and the financial costs are too high for some.
For all these reasons, divorce rates tend to decrease during economic downturns. For those considering divorce, seeking legal advice early on can help to minimize the financial impact. By understanding the costs involved, couples can make informed decisions about whether to proceed with the divorce.
2. Changing Demographics
One reason for the decline in divorce may be the state’s changing demographics. In particular, the population is becoming increasingly older. That may be partly due to the many retirees who move to Florida each year. Older couples are less likely to divorce than younger couples, so as the population ages, the divorce rate is likely to decline.
Additionally, Florida has become increasingly diverse, with people from all over the world moving to the state. This diversity can bring different perspectives on marriage and divorce, possibly contributing to lower divorce rates. Whatever the reasons, it’s clear that divorce rates in Florida are on the decline. This trend may offer some hope for a brighter future for families and individuals going through a divorce.
3. Late Marriages
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the marriage rate in Florida has decreased by 10% since 2016. While many factors contribute to this trend, one of the most significant is the increasing age of couples getting married; couples are waiting longer to get married.
In the past, many couples married in their early twenties before they had a chance to get to know each other. Nowadays, couples are more likely to wait until they are a little older and more established before tying the knot. That gives them a better chance of having a lasting marriage.
In 2018, the average age of marriage in Florida was 32.5 for men and 30.4 for women, which is significantly higher than the national average of 29.5 for men and 27.4 for women.
Additionally, research has shown that couples who marry later in life are less likely to divorce than those who marry younger. Couples marrying later in life have a stronger foundation to build their relationship; therefore, as more couples in Florida wait until they are older to tie the knot, the divorce rate will likely continue to decline.
4. Improved Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills
Couples are now more likely to seek counseling and therapy to help them resolve their differences. Thanks to improved family law education and resources, couples may be more informed about their options and rights, which could help them avoid making rash decisions during heated arguments. Additionally, the increased availability of mediation and counseling services could help couples work through their issues before they reach the point of no return. With more people seeking help from counselors and therapists, couples can work through their problems and stay together.
5. Shift in Social Norms
While the exact reasons for the steady decline in the number of divorces in Florida are difficult to pinpoint, some experts believe it may be due to a shift in social norms. There is a growing acceptance of the idea that marriage is not forever. There is a growing acceptance of alternative lifestyles, and many people choose to live together without getting married. That means there are fewer marriages and thus fewer divorces.
Additionally, family law has become more family-friendly, making it easier for couples to stay together even after experiencing marital problems. The Florida Department of Health also offers a variety of programs and resources that can help couples struggling with marital issues. The divorce rate will likely decline as the state continues to invest in such initiatives.
6. Changes in The Law
One of the main reasons for the decline in divorce rates in Florida is changes in family law. In 2010, Florida passed a law requiring couples to receive legal advice before filing for divorce. That helped to make couples more aware of the implications of divorce and encouraged them to work out their differences.
7. An Aging Population
As people age, they tend to be more settled in their relationships and less likely to divorce. Family law attorney Joshua Forman explained to CNBC, “One of the interesting things we’ve seen in recent years is that the divorce rate has been declining, particularly among people over 50.” This trend is partly attributable to the fact that Baby Boomers are now entering their retirement years, and many are simply choosing to stay married rather than go through the hassle and expense of getting divorced.
Additionally, couples who have been together for a long time may be more likely to seek legal advice before deciding to end their marriage. Forman notes, “Couples are often more willing to invest in therapy, counseling, or mediation before filing for divorce.” Indeed, a recent report from Bloomberg found that 28 percent of Americans over the age of 50 say they would be “very willing” to seek marriage counseling, compared to just 18 percent of younger adults. Together, these factors suggest that the declining divorce rate in Florida is at least partially due to an aging population.
While the exact reasons for the decline in the divorce rate in Florida are difficult to pinpoint, several factors have contributed to this trend. Whatever the reasons, the decline in Florida’s divorce rate is good news for couples and families.