Divorce is a legal proceeding in all 50 states. Couples do not get married with the intent of needing a divorce attorney; however, it does happen to many couples. While many people believe that over one-half of marriages end in divorce, it is worthwhile to look at the actual statistics before believing this common assumption about our divorce rate in this country.

Do One-Half of the Marriages in the United States End in Divorce?

The answer to that question depends on who you ask. Some sources state that 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. Other sources claim that the divorce rate is not that easy to calculate.

Even the data used to calculate the divorce rate in the United States appears to be somewhat flawed. Reviewing the information from the Centers for Disease Control, the CDC data for marriage and divorce rates excludes data from numerous states. Therefore, the divorce rate could be higher or lower, depending on the data from the excluded states.

What the data does reveal is that the divorce rate in the United States has been decreasing over the past couple of decades. The divorce rate in 2018 was at a 40-year low, according to the Bowling Green State University.

In 2018, the divorce rate was 15.7 divorces per 1,000 married women. Arkansas had the highest divorce rate in 2018, with 25.9 divorces per 1,000 women. California ranked 38th in the country for divorces in 2018, with 13.8 divorces per 1,000 married women.

On the other hand, when you factor in the age of the person or other data, the divorce rate could be lower or higher. For example, some data indicate individuals in their late 20s have less than 50 percent chance of divorce. Additionally, their chance of remaining married is increasing.

Therefore, age, gender, education, children, financial situation, same-sex partner, and numerous other factors need to be considered when determining the divorce rate in America. Changing social norms and societal influences also impact the divorce rate.

It may be confusing, especially given the fact that many professionals and researchers disagree about the chance of divorce. One thing remains constant, and everyone seems to agree on that fact. The divorce rate is decreasing overall in the United States.

Why Do Couples Divorce?

The factors that lead to a divorce are as diverse as the couples that enter a family courtroom in California. Many studies have been conducted to determine why people get divorced.

Some common reasons given for divorce include:

  • Extramarital affairs or infidelity
  • Lack of commitment
  • Financial problems
  • Disagreements related to children
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Domestic violence and abuse
  • Growing apart
  • Constant arguing and conflict
  • Differing lifestyles and values

For some couples, the reason for divorce is glaringly obvious. A spouse cheats or is abusive. For other couples, they may simply grow apart and fall out of love.

Whatever the cause of divorce may be for a couple, another factor must be considered: the cost of the divorce.

The Cost of Divorce in California

The cost of a divorce can be expensive in financial terms and emotional terms. While it can be difficult to deal with the effects of divorce on children and spouses, dealing with the financial burden of divorce can also be overwhelming.

Fortunately for California couples, California is a no-fault state for divorces. A spouse does not need to prove that his or her partner is guilty of wrongdoing to obtain a divorce. The no-fault divorce process can reduce the cost of divorce in California for uncontested divorces.

Spousal wrongdoing may not be used as grounds for divorce in California, but it can be a factor used in other matters. For example, allegations of domestic abuse could impact custody and spousal support.

If you and your spouse disagree on the terms of your divorce, the cost of divorce can increase. Litigating matters related to property division, child support, custody, and spousal support can increase the cost of divorce. Mediation and negotiation can sometimes help resolve family law matters without the need for a long, costly trial.

Divorce may be unavoidable in your situation. Getting the facts about divorce law in California from a trusted legal advocate can make a difference in the outcome of your case.

Military Divorce in California

The most recent data provided by the military shows that the divorce rate among service members has fluctuated between 3% and 3.1% since 2014. However, there is a discrepancy between male and female military service members at both the officer and enlisted levels. The divorce rate amongst females is higher than the divorce rate for males in the military. Additionally, enlisted personnel have a divorce rate of approximately 3.5% compared to a 1.7% rate for officers.

Divorces can be challenging for anybody, but the reality is that when one or both individuals in the military, this can significantly complicate the process. One of the most confusing aspects of divorce, when one or both parties are in the military, is determining where the divorce needs to be filed. Military couples often move from place to place, but the law usually allows the divorcing couple to file for divorce in the state where either of the spouses has legal residency. Often, one spouse may live in a different state than the other.

Military spouses typically have to deal with the same types of issues as traditional spouses, including the division of assets, child support issues, child custody arrangements, visitation schedules, and alimony. However, there are some differences with these divorces that the attorneys at Fernandez & Karney will be able to help with. 

First, when dividing assets, particularly when dealing with military pensions, the law says that most “disposable retired pay” that is earned over the course of the marriage will be considered community property and have to be divided when the divorce occurs, per Uniformed Services Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). 

It is also important to understand that military service members are allowed to use the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act as part of their divorce cases in California. This is a law that protects the rights of service members during the divorce proceedings by preventing default judgments from being rendered in the case. This law also allows service members to put the divorce proceedings on pause if they are currently overseas and unable to be present.

High-Net Worth Divorces

When there are significant assets at stake during a divorce process in California, it is important to understand that the entire process will become much more challenging. This is particularly true when it comes to ensuring that assets are divided in a manner appropriate under California law. Couples with a high net worth are going to have a much more complicated process when it comes to asset division. Some of the assets that will have to be properly divided under California law include the following:

  • Multiple checking and savings accounts
  • The marital home
  • Any second or third homes
  • Other real estate holdings
  • Stock options
  • Investment portfolios
  • Retirement accounts (IRAs, 401ks, etc.)
  • Professional or business practices
  • Any taxable brokerage accounts
  • Cryptocurrencies

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of all the types of assets that will need to be examined. High net worth divorces typically involve any other investments or collectibles between the two parties, including art, jewelry, sports memorabilia, and more.

It is very rare for high net worth divorces to be handled without assistance from an attorney. In fact, both parties certainly need their own lawyer to help them get through this entire process. When you work with an Los Angeles high-net worth divorce attorney from Fernandez & Karney, you will have a team that understands the complexities of these particular cases. In order to help ensure our clients are treated fairly throughout the asset division process, we often secure assistance from the following:

  • Appraisers who can properly evaluate the value of the property and the estate
  • Private investigators
  • Business valuation experts
  • Forensic accountants

For couples with a high net worth who also have children under the age of 18, the calculations for child support are going to be more complex. Simply using the state divorce calculator is not going to be sufficient in these situations. High net worth individuals will result in special calculations being needed by the court in order to ensure that the child receives the correct support amount in order to ensure that their lifestyle is properly maintained. This can include providing enough money for private school tuition, special camps they have been accustomed to, etc.

Cities With Highest Divorce Rates

California is notoriously secretive about publishing statewide divorce statistics, and you will be hard-pressed to find information related to each individual city in the state. However, when we look at non-governmental sources, we can often get a good understanding of what the divorce rate looks like throughout California. If we examine data available from the Statistical Atlas, we can see that the percentage of the US population that is divorced is 13%. California is fairly close to this number, sitting at 12% of the population.

Currently, data reveals that Santa Rosa is the city in California with the largest percentage of the population divorced, at 16%. Other major cities that have approximately the same divorce level as the United States as a whole include Sacramento, Modesto, and San Bernardino. 

In San Diego in Anaheim, the percentage of the population currently divorced hovers around 12%. In Los Angeles and San Francisco, the percentage of the population currently divorced is approximately 11%.

The numbers given here can be a little deceptive when it comes to looking at how the divorce rate in California compares to the rest of the United States. In California, only 47% of the population is married, which is less than the rest of the United States. There are some cities in California that see the percentage of the population married above 50%, but that is not a significant portion of the state. In many major cities, the percentage of the population married is below 40%. This includes Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, San Bernardino, and Long Beach.

Working with a Los Angeles Divorce Attorney

You are not a divorce statistic. You and your children are unique individuals who deserve to be treated with respect and compassion.

The Los Angeles family law attorneys of Fernandez & Karney understand you and your family may be going through a challenging period in your lives. We are here to help. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers to discuss your situation.