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Is the divorce rate the same in each state?

We have all heard the estimate that half of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. The real number is somewhere between 40 to 50 percent, according to the American Psychological Association, but even that is a bit misleading.

Hearing statistics like this, one is likely to assume that the divorce rate in Minnesota is about the same as it is in, say, Delaware and Arizona. But the percentages of people who have gotten divorced at least once vary greatly from state to state.

The Street recently published a list of the states with the lowest divorce rates among adults, which the article defined as being 15 or older. New Jersey had the lowest population percentage who had divorced at 8.6 percent, with another 2 percent separated from their spouses. Meanwhile, tied at 10th place with a 10.1 percent divorced population are Massachusetts and Maryland.

Part of the reason that these states have relatively low divorce rates is that marriage rates are dropping there. Of the bottom 10 states for divorce, only North Dakota and Utah’s adult populations are mostly married. Only 26.7 percent of adults in Washington, D.C. are currently married. When unmarried couples break up, they do not need to go through divorce, though if they have children together they may still need assistance from family law attorneys.

The divorce laws vary somewhat from state to state, but in virtually every place, spouses have the option of trying to work out their divorce-related issues on their own, or have a judge decide if they cannot agree.

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