Divorce Family Law

Millennials Saving Marriage

In a new paper out from the University of Maryland, professor Philip Cohen concludes that between 2008 and 2016, the divorce rate declined by 18 percent overall. The reason? Millennials. Turns out the generation might just be saving marriage.

Millennials Saving Marriage

As part of his research, Cohen accounted for the rising average age of married Americans and other demographic shifts during that time period and found “a less steep decline—8 percent—but the pattern is the same.” That means the divorce rate in 2016 was still lower than one would have predicted if the demographics of married people were the same then as in 2008.

As a whole, millennials have seemingly “slowed down” on the typical trend of school, career, marriage, family, etc… meaning they’re taking longer to figure out what they want to do, investing in careers and building their careers for longer time periods, and then marrying later on as a result of building those careers.

Additionally, millennials tend to have the financial independence (as a result of more time building their careers) to postpone marriage until they’re more confident it will work. This perhaps has been the reason divorce rates have lowered.

According to a 2014 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 80 percent of never-married women said “finding someone with a steady job would be very important.” The idea of “steady job” just re-enforces the fact that millennials might just be the reason divorce rates are falling.

Divorce Rates

Divorce rates among lower-income families remain stagnant, roughly where they were in the 1980’s, while new research shows higher-income families are seeing a decline in divorce rates. For higher-income families, the phrase “half of every marriage ends in divorce” is no longer true. In fact, the divorce rate has been dropping. In a piece posted on Upshot, the New York Times’ data blog, the divorce rates seen in the late 1970s and early 1980s may have just been a “historical anomaly,” rather than a trend.


Divorce Rate Statistics

Below, are a few statistics noted in the Upshot blog:

  • Roughly 70 percent of marriages that began in the 1990s reached 15 years. That’s up from only 65 percent for marriages that began in the 1970s and 1980s. Couples wed in the 2000s are divorcing at even lower rates.
  • According to economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfer, the 1970s feminist movement had a considerable impact on where the divorce rate is now. During the movement women entered the work force and gained reproductive rights. As a result, marriages began to evolve into the “modern-day form, based on love and shared passions, and often two incomes and shared housekeeping duties.”
  • There are more mature marriages now as people are marrying later on in life. The median age for marriage during the 1950s was 23 for men and 20 for women. In 2004, it increased to 27 for men and 26 for women.
  • According to Wolfers, if the numbers continue to decrease, roughly two-thirds of marriages will never end in divorce. That’s a giant change from the 50 percent statistic that’s often thrown around.

When it comes to comparing higher-income divorce rates to lower-income divorce rates:

  •  The number of married, college-educated couples that split by their seventh anniversary was 20 percent in the 1980s and is now just 11 percent.
  • Meanwhile,  17 percent of lower-income couples ( in the study this was couples making no more than twice the federal poverty line of just over $30,000) get divorced at roughly the same rate as the 1980’s: 20 percent.

Similar Ideas Regarding Children

But it might not just be the idea of having a steady income that’s impacting divorce rates among lower-income families. It might be more of a shift towards the idea of having a more equal division of domestic life. The Pew Research study found 70 percent of women also want to find a mate that has similar ideas about having and raising children. A 2007 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found couples want a more even distribution of responsibilities.

This idea of equal responsibilities: the idea of both parents bringing in an income, sharing time with the family, being equal contributors has become a defining feature of a good marriage. According to the poll, it outranks having an adequate income, sharing religious beliefs, or even having children.

50-50 Marriage

Motorists and Cyclists

“What we have is historically high expectations for what young people call a 50-50 marriage,” says Bill Doherty, a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota.

“People are looking for a high-intimacy, high-income marriage where both partners contribute, regardless of income bracket,” he continued. “Unless you have a good economic base and a certain level of personal maturity, it can be very hard.”

According to The Washington Post‘s Darlena Cunha, this trend towards wanting a 50-50 marriage has it’s downfall for families that night not be able to achieve that standard. Lower-income families, who are struggling economically, are having a harder time managing this kind of ideal marriage belief. And as a result, more lower-income marriages are leading to divorce.

The differing divorce rates between lower-income families and higher-income families is something researchers have been trying to comprehend for years. It can be especially difficult to see a link when studies over the years show that lower-income families value marriage just as other demographics.

“A lot of government policy is based on the assumption that low-income people hold less traditional views about marriage,” says researcher and UCLA professor of psychology, Benjamin Karney. “However, the different income groups do not hold dramatically different views about marriage and divorce — and when the views are different, they are different in the opposite direction from what is commonly assumed.”

According to The New York Times‘ Stephanie Coontz, “Since the 1970s, families have become more egalitarian in their internal relationships. But inequality among families has soared,”she wrote. “Women have become more secure as their real wages and legal rights have increased. But families have become more insecure as their income and job instability have worsened.”

While parents have grown more equal in their internal roles, “rising inequality has changed family dynamics for all socioeconomic groups.”

Women Making Leaps

According to Cunha, women seem to have exited the recession better than men. Following the recession, unemployment levels dropped from historic highs. But this was more so for woman than men. In summer 2013, roughly 7.5 percent of men over age 20 were unemployed. That number was only 6.5 percent for women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That, coupled with the ever-increasingly polarized workforce, where high and low income jobs are increasing and middle-income jobs decreasing, has caused women to make even greater leaps. As a result, it seems women are becoming increasingly impatient with the economic stagnation of their male counterparts and family members.

“I realized that since I was the only reliable person in the family making money,” said Cece Azadi of Alabama. “there wasn’t much reason to hold onto that marriage.

Seeking Alimony

It makes sense that women and men are both striving for 50-50 marriages. If you do not feel that is attainable for your marriage and are seeking  divorce, you’ll want to understand the idea of alimony, regardless of if you will need to pay alimony or receive alimony.

Alimony, often called “spousal support” is when one spouse pays the other spouse in order to help that spouse maintain the same financial standard of living as was experienced during the marriage. A divorce court will often require the higher earning spouse to assist the lower earning spouse.

Awarding Alimony

A California judge can award temporary support (“pendente lite”) either during the divorce proceedings, or after the divorce has been finalized.  Alimony payments are made from one spouse to the other in a specified amount for a predetermined period of time. A support payment can also be paid in a single lump-sum. In collaborative process divorce agreements, spouses often come to agreement on the terms and conditions of support payments, which often includes tax agreements and child support tax agreements. As long as an alimony agreement meets legal requirements, a court will uphold an agreement. This is the case even if the divorce agreement provides for a complete waiver of support to the lower-earning spouse.

Duration of Spousal Support

In California, the duration of spousal support agreements are typically determined and based on the length of the marriage. A general rule of thumb is that for a marriage of less than 10 years, a court will not order support payments be made for longer than half the length of the marriage. But if a marriage has lasted 10 years or longer, a court typically will not set a definite termination date for support. Both spouses are able to request modifications to the spousal support agreement indefinitely, unless a termination date has specifically been agreed, or if the court expressly terminates the support at a later hearing.

Awarding Permanent Support

The awarding of “permanent” (meaning the support lasts for a lifetime) is rare, even for marriages that last over 10 years. Family law courts in California tend to require a spouse seeking support to make an effort to become self-supporting through obtaining employment. A spouse making claims they are unable to work, or unable to become fully employed, is required to support the claim with evidence. This typically means a  vocational evaluation must be done. For long term support orders, the support gradually reduces over time by a nominal amount. Permanent support is usually only awarded to spouses that are unable to become self-supporting due to age or disability.

A Family Law Attorney

There are a number of things that need to be considered during a divorce: child support, spousal support, marital property division, and other things. Working with a skilled attorney can help ensure you get a fair case.  For advice on divorce, child custody determinations, setting up a co-parenting agreement, dividing marital property, and spousal support you need the expert law firm of Divorce Law LA. Schedule a consultation today.

Divorce Law LA, Esq.

Divorce Law LA

33 S. Catalina Ave. Ste. 202

Pasadena, Ca. 91106

(626) 478-3550

Collaborative Law Divorce Family Law

Divorce Season is Upon Us

It looks like divorce season may be upon us. Though January is often hailed as “Divorce Month,” a new study recently released by the University of Washington reveals that the most common months for divorce filings are March and August.

Divorce Season is Upon Us

Researchers Julie Brines and Brian Serafini from the University of Washington were actually looking for a different kind of trend in divorce – whether or not the recession had affected American marriages.  But in looking looked at filings from counties in Washington state from 2001 through 2015, they actually found another trend – divorces happening in March and August.

According to the researchers, this “domestic ritual” might be attributed to the fact that nobody wants to ruin the holidays with a divorce. A summer trip can be a couple’s last-ditch effort to make things “right.”

“People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past,” said Brines. “They represent periods in the year when there’s the anticipation or the opportunity for a new beginning, a new start, something different, a transition into a new period of life. It’s like an optimism cycle, in a sense.”

March filings, because they are following the winter holidays might also occur because of the time it takes to get everything organized prior to actually filing for divorce. And the August filings might be due to the fact that there’s a sense of urgency to filing before kids return to school.

Considering Divorce?

If you are considering divorce, you know it’s not a consideration taken lightly. Chances are you’ve been dealing with these emotions for a while now. Know that you are not alone. There are many reasons that people divorce. Here are a few of them:

Lack of communication. When you are unable to communicate with your partner, you create distance. This can be from lack of sharing feelings, or not keeping your partner in the loop about what’s happening with you emotionally. A successful relationship is one that has open lines of communication. Otherwise, it can feel like nothing is ever resolved, and as if you aren’t even talking about why things can’t be resolved. Additionally, chances are you both feel as if something is being left unsaid. These feelings can multiply over time and become much larger than they were at the beginning. You might consider working with a relationship therapist to learn how to communicate effectively.

Financial Issues. Money, and lack of it, can lead to a lot of problems in relationships. Often times two people have very different mindsets when it comes to saving and spending. If you and your spouse are not in agreement when it comes to how to manage your money, it can cause a lot of problems. Sit down and have an open conversation about how you relate to money and what your goals are. You might find one spouse wants to save to buy a house or to go on a big vacation, while the other spouse would rather go out to dinner every night of the week and have a closet filled with amazing clothes. You might have different goals, and neither one is wrong. Try to find a middle ground. You might also want to speak with a financial adviser that can take a look at your financial situation and advise you on how to move forward based on your joint goals.

Feeling Held Back. When you first started dating your spouse you may have felt as if the sky was the limit, or maybe you felt like you needed to change yourself a little for him or her. Over the course of a marriage things can change. You might feel now as if your spouse and marriage are holding you back from achieving goals and taking opportunities. If you don’t feel supported by your spouse you can begin to feel as if you are being held back from really accomplishing what you want to during your lifetime. Try to get a clear-headed assessment. Are you really being held back? Or maybe it’s just how you are perceiving the situation. An open conversation might be the best place to start.

Trust. Trust is one of the leading factors in having a successful relationship and marriage. It can be impossible to achieve anything if you do not trust each other. Ask yourself if there’s a reason for the lack of trust. Was there an infidelity or past infidelities? Or are you just reading into things? Try to get a clear head about why there is not trust in your relationship. Maybe working with a relationship therapist can help you both deal with any trust issues.

Expectations. If you expected one thing at the beginning of the relationship and you aren’t getting it now, or your expectations have changed, you might find that you aren’t as happy in your relationship as you could be.


Your spouse doesn’t understand or fulfill your needs and desires. We all have different needs and wants that need to be met by the significant other in our lives. If you have a partner that doesn’t acknowledge your interests and desires then they won’t do what they can to fulfill your needs and wants.

Sudden Life Change. New changes happen at every moment in our lives. This can be the birth of a child, death of a parent, sudden job loss, a new opportunity for a job across the country. You will both need to be adaptable and know how to be supportive of each other. Life is unplanned, but you should be able to plan that your spouse will be there to support you whether its a good change or a difficult one.

Domestic Violence If you’ve been in a situation, or are currently in a situation, where your partner has been abusive or controlling in any manner, you should consider seeking help. If need be, contact a trusted family, friend, or an attorney about this matter.

Another Option: Legal Separation

While divorce might seem like the only option, remember that legal separation is also available. Legal separation allows couples to live apart and take a “break” from each other, while also ensuring that each spouse’s legal rights are protected via a legal separation agreement. Legal separations can also be called: “judicial separation”, “separate maintenance”, “divorce a mensa et thoro“, or “divorce from bed-and-board.” All these terms refer to the legal process by which a married couple formalizes a de facto separation while remaining legally married.

Steps to Follow for Legal Separation

Here are the steps you will take to acquire a legal separation:

  • Consider working with a family law attorney that can advise you on all the necessary steps of your legal separation.
  • You and your spouse will need to decide on grounds for the separation
  • Fill out a Form FL-100 Petition. This form includes options for divorce (dissolution of marriage) or legal separation.
  • If you have children under 18, you will need to complete Form FL-105/GC-120 which provides information to the court regarding children.
  • File Form FL-100 at your local county court. Pay any necessary fees. If you receive public benefits or have low income, you might be eligible for a fee waiver.
  • Serve your spouse with a copy of the court papers if they were not filed together. There will need to be proof of the serving, which can be done through various means such as a process server. A family law attorney can advise you on how to obtain this proof.

Sign a Formal Legal Separation Agreement


It’s always advised that you sign a formal legal separation agreement. This agreement outlines child support and visitation, property division, and any other aspect of a marriage.  An attorney will be able to prepare this legal and binding document. This will offer you legal protection should your spouse fail to live up to his or her obligations and will also hold up in court.

The following should be included in the legal separation agreement:

Spousal Support

Benefits – With legal separation spouses are able to retain certain benefits that were available during the marriage, such as health insurance.

Home Residency – If a couple shares a home, it should be decided at this time what will happen to the residency during the separation. The agreement should include information regarding who is able to live in the home, who is responsible for maintaining the home, and who is financially handling the home.

Joint Accounts – A legal separation agreement outlines who has access to those joint accounts such as joint checking, savings, and credit accounts. It’s often advised to close or freeze these accounts during the separation. Each spouse will then need to obtain their own personal accounts.

Protection from Acquired Debt – A legal separation agreement will shield you from being responsible for debt acquired during the time of the legal separation.

Deciding on Divorce

If following your legal separation, or if you just decide after the holidays that you want to divorce, it’s always advised that you consider working with a family law attorney. They will be able to advise you on any number of issues, including child support, spousal support, marital property division, child visitation, etc… A lawyer from the expert law firm of Divorce Law LA will be able to guide you through the divorce process. The Divorce & Family Law Offices of Divorce Law LA will provide you with the highest level of expertise and professionalism from our skilled attorneys. Our Divorce and Family Law Practice spans a wide spectrum of areas that include: divorce, high net-worth divorce, marital property division, child custody and visitation, and child support.

Divorce Law LA

33 S. Catalina Ave. Ste. 202

Pasadena, Ca. 91106

(626) 478-3550