Friday, December 05, 2008

Will I Get A Divorce?

Many people quote America’s divorce rate as 50%. However, statistics can be deceiving. The probability that you will divorce depends on a variety of different factors, such as the age of the spouses at the time of marriage, when you married, education levels, income and socioeconomic backgrounds. Additionally, the percentage can differ depending on your pool - 50% of all marriages this year is a different number than 50% of all marriage in the last ten years.

An Assistant Professor of Business and Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Betsey Stevenson, has actually developed a calculator to help demonstrate how the incidence of divorce evolves throughout the life of a marriage. In developing the calculator, the author used data from the U.S. Census bureau so that a user can enter certain data and discover how people with that type of background have faired in the marriage world. You can access the calculator by clicking here.

The calculator is merely a statistical analysis and cannot take into account the human factors. As a divorce attorney, I have seen what seems like an infinite number of reasons why people divorce: substance abuse, infidelity, disappointment in economic status, difference in values, fights over children, mental illness and general incompatibility, to name a few. A statistical calculator like this one cannot take all of those human factors into account. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, for every marriage that involves one of those types of problems that fails, another marriage may survive. However, the calculator may help those who are thinking of taking the plunge and perhaps provide food for thought.