Pennsylvania has one of the lowest divorce rates of any state in the nation. According to Statistic Brain, a medium dedicated to provide accurate and timely statistics for public benefit, Pennsylvania’s divorce rate sits around 9.2 percent – the sixth-lowest in the country – compared to nationwide highs of roughly 13 percent in Maine and Oklahoma (and 14 percent in Nevada, though that’s something of a special case).
Nevertheless, recent trends indicate that these numbers might not hold. In Pennsylvania, couples that stay together tend…well, to stay together. Divorce rates for couples that have been together for more than 25 years drop off sharply. This isn’t so surprising, but does buck the national trend of ‘gray divorce,’ wherein baby boomers and empty-nesters have shown a recent propensity to end their marriages later in life.
Divorce: an affliction of the young and inexperienced
Conversely, more than one-fifth of Pennsylvania divorces are enacted by couples that have been together for less than five years. Almost half of all divorces are enacted by couples that have been together fewer than nine years. Those numbers see a slight uptick in Philadelphia and other urban areas.
What’s more, younger couples are often less prepared for the potential perils of divorce. Namely, issues concerning assets and children are often more difficult to sort out for couples that have not been together for a great deal of time.
Why divorce can be more complicated for younger and newer couples
There are several reasons for this. For starters, younger folks have the bulk of their careers ahead of them. And, while they may be contributing to 401(k)s or other retirement accounts, they don’t always keep close track of such matters. What this means is that when it comes time to divide assets during divorce, they are unaware of their holdings’ full value, and don’t have a strategy in place to protect their financial independence.
Likewise, younger couples with minor children often find themselves unable to communicate effectively about their children’s futures. They are, in many cases, more likely to disagree about parenting time and visitation schedules, and face difficulties when it comes to child support obligations.
How to protect your interests during divorce
Nationwide, as in our state, divorce rates are on the decline. Individuals are, on the whole, putting off marriage until later in life, and using sounder judgment when choosing the partner with whom they want to share their lives.
Yet when marriage doesn’t work out, it is important to work with a qualified and experienced attorney who can help spouses ensure their financial and personal interests remain protected throughout the process.