Legal trends: Marriage (and divorce) in 2019

Relationships, Uncategorized

Haven’t found the right Valentine’s Day card for your sweetheart? Maybe you’re taking time to consider the options and select the perfect sentiment, just like many of today’s almost-marrying folks. Marriage and divorce trends change with the times, but millennials may be shaping the ups and downs of relationships more than any other generation.

People are waiting longer to get married.

The age a person enters their first marriage (the assumption being made, apparently, that there will be more than one wedding in a person’s lifetime) has increased over time, says INSIDER Data, a publication that analyzed U.S. Census Bureau info and learned the following about the average marrying age:

  • In 1940, men were 24.3 years old and women were 21.5 when they got married.
  • From the 1950s to the 1970s, men married around age 23 and women at 20.
  • In the late 1980s, men were 25 years old on average when marrying and women were 23.
  • In 2018, folks are taking their good old time with courting, with men marrying at the age of 29.8 and women at 27.8.

Waiting longer for marriage could have something to do with all the options today’s singles have for making a love connection – thank you dating apps. People are picky, and they finely hone personal algorithms for vetting potential partners. Stronger matches, ideally, should follow.

The average wedding cost is going up.

No matter how much people are trying to simplify their lives, plenty still spark joy with a big fat wedding. Fatter than ever before. Wedding website The Knot reported an average wedding price tag of $27,852 in 2006. In 2017, the cost rose to $33,391.

The venue price takes the bulk of the wedding budget, ringing in around $15K. Add in the average of $70 per head for a meal and you have paid quite a price to celebrate love.

Where you live is the biggest factor: If you’re getting hitched in Manhattan, the average wedding is almost $77K. The state of Washington costs about $24.5K.

The divorce rate is dropping.

Those millennials. They may not want to commit to much, but it seems like those who do get married are pretty good at it. There was an 18 percent reduction in the divorce rate in the U.S. between 2008 and 2018, according to a sociologist at the University of Maryland.

There just isn’t a big rush to get married today. Career, self-fulfillment, and financial stability are more important than marriage or starting a family to many people. Marrying because you choose to and don’t feel rushed or pressured by society to do so can lead to far better determinations about the right match and, presumably, a better chance of longevity for the marriage. Living together before marriage also gives people an opportunity to see whether they can stand a person enough to make it legal.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the rate of divorce has been steadily decreasing since the mid-1980s. The 787,251 divorces in 2017 might seem high, but it’s the lowest the divorce rate has been since 1968.

Marriage and faith are not mutually exclusive.

Pew Research’s Religious Landscape Study found that 39 percent of Americans who have been married since 2010 are married to someone of a different faith. Among people who aren’t married but have committed to each other by living together, 49 percent have shacked up with a partner in a different religious group.

Before 1960, only 19 percent of Americans married someone who didn’t practice their same faith. Do an atheist and agnostic marrying count as two different faiths?

Couples want to work on their marriage.

Many therapists report that marriage retreats and intense workshops have helped couples stay together, more so than sessions held once a week. If folks have the tools to work on their marriage, they can presumably have a healthier relationship. Maybe it takes committing to a long weekend of therapy instead of just a weekly hour of therapy that helps couples last longer.

Ultimately, people are still getting married and they’re still getting divorced. Whether anyone is getting better at it will always be up for debate.