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US and Massachusetts Divorce Rates

The dissolution of a marriage is never easy and it is more common than most people want to consider. The good news is, the divorce rate in the United States seems to be on the decline. Understanding current divorce rates as well as marriage and divorce trends in the U.S. and Massachusetts can help shed light on what is working and what isn’t.

The State of Marriage in the United States

Finding accurate statistics on marriage in the United States is not always easy. There is a great deal of misreporting and misquoting the actual data collected. For instance, an article in Time dated December 4, 2016 ran the headline Divorce rate in U.S. Drops to Nearly 40-Year Low. However, upon reading further into the article and after reviewing the data collected by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, the focus was on women only. So, while the numbers look impressive – a marriage rate of 32.2 per 1,000 and a divorce rate of 16.9 per 1,000, closer inspection reveals that men are excluded from these totals. While it does provide valuable information, it does not offer a complete picture.

While it may seem logical that because marriages involve two people, the rates would not change that much when the data for men was included. It isn’t that simple though. For instance, a person could get married, divorced, and remarried all within the span of a year, based on their state of residency. This could drive the marriage rate up for that gender. Furthermore, in 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all states are required to allow same sex marriage. Since this also became recognized as legal marriage, that information is figured into the statistics as well and counting the marriage and divorce rates of women would include homosexual women. This can skew the numbers further, providing an unbalanced view of marriage and divorce in the U.S.

Marriage Trends in the U.S.

According to the most recent (2015) data collected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the current marriage rate is 6.9 per 1,000 of the total population (321,418,820). That’ means there were 2,221,579 marriages in 2015. This was slightly higher than 2014, 2,140,272 or 6.9 per 1,000 total population, but data was not included from Georgia. In 2013, Georgia was again excluded and the marriage rate dropped to 6.8 or 2,081.301. This rate held steady from 1009 until 2013.

The data collected for divorces and annulments in 2015 shows that there were 800,909 or 3.1 per 1,000 total population (258,518,265). This puts the marriage dissolution rate at around 36% but the states of Minnesota, Indiana, Hawaii, Georgia, and California was not included. This could be updated at a later time, but at this point there is no real clear picture of divorce rates in the United States at this time. Based on the data available, though, the divorce and annulment rate has consistently dropped since 2000 when it was 4.0 (this excluded data from Oklahoma, Louisiana, Indiana, and California).

In another marriage study conducted by the CDC examined the stability of premarital cohabitations compared to marriages. They found that a first marriage has about a 20% probability of ending in divorce within 5 years, but within that same timeframe, an unmarried cohabitation has a 49% of breaking up. At the 10-year mark, marriages have a 33 percent chance of ending while the probability for a cohabitation ending jumps to 62%.

Divorce Rates in Massachusetts


The latest data collected from the CDC shows that the marriage rate in Massachusetts is 5.5 per 1,000 total population. This is down from 2014, when the rate was 5.6. However, it held at 5.5 for 2012 and 2013 and had been steadily decreasing each year. In 1990, the marriage rate was 7.9 per 1,000 total population.  In short, fewer people in Massachusetts are getting married.

Divorce in Massachusetts is a different story. The divorce rate in the state is lower than the national average – 2.6 per 1,000 total population in 2015. This is not the lowest rate within the scope of the data analyzed (1990 – 2015), which was 2.0 in 2008, but it isn’t the highest either – 2.8 in 1990.

Divorce Rates Within Massachusetts Towns

According to Boston Magazine, Boston did not make the list on the top five towns within Massachusetts with the highest divorce rates. The magazine lists the towns of Vineyard Haven, Orleans, Monson, Great Barrington and Onset as the top five towns with high divorce rates. This data was accurate as of the end of 2013, and statistics could be changing over time.

Social Media and Divorce in Boston

In a study conducted at Boston University regarding social media use and divorce rates, researchers discovered that there was a direct correlation between marriage dissatisfaction and social media use. People who were continually logging onto social media were more likely unhappy in their marriage and seeking solace from friends and family on the internet. They found that people who are online frequently are more likely to find themselves divorced in the near future.

Whether social media websites weaken actual marriages, or people who are online are using social media as a way to escape, there are clear links between the amount of time spent online and marital strife between two people.

The Divorce Process in Massachusetts

Getting a divorce anywhere isn’t easy. Even when the couple separating is trying to do so amicably, emotions can run high. When there are children involved in the marriage, property to divide, and debt to separate, both parties can get extremely overwhelmed. The process begins with filing an intent to divorce, and it will end once both parties are able to come to an agreement that both people are willing to accept.

Deciding on a separation agreement can be very contentious. Most people will discuss their concerns with an attorney before signing a separation agreement, seeking legal advice to make sure that they are getting what they deserve out of the divorce. An attorney can help you decide whether to accept a proposed separation agreement or not and can also create an agreement in the first place. Whether you try to represent yourself in the divorce, or you hire an attorney is up to you and your comfort level with the system.

It’s important to carefully think about every aspect of the separation agreement before you file this agreement in court. When you present your agreement to the judge, you are stating that you agree to the conditions within the agreement and you are ready to abide by this agreement. If you don’t follow the parameters of the agreement, you can be found in contempt of court by your former spouse.

It is also difficult to change the separation agreement shortly after it is filed, so make sure that it is what you want, or you are comfortable with.

If you are going through a divorce, don’t do it alone. At Infinity Law Group, our compassionate, experienced attorneys will help you navigate the complex family court system and ensure that your needs are met in the divorce terms. Call today for a free phone consultation or send us a message on our contact page. Divorce is hard, let us help you.