The world is filled with all kinds of interesting statistics. While many people might not be overly excited about statistics involving divorce, they can provide a number of important insights for both lawyers and spouses approaching this legal process. Some of the most interesting divorce statistics involve financial factors, and these factors have the power to drastically affect spouses who are ending their marriages.
The Wealth “Plateau” and Divorce Rates
One of the least surprising statistics surrounding marriage is the fact that many divorces occur after disputes over money. With high inflation and climbing mortgage rates, financial pressures are higher than ever. Many American families are currently arguing about money, and some of these arguments will inevitably spiral toward divorce. With that simple concept in mind, it seems fair to assume that richer couples enjoy lower average divorce rates.
Not so fast. According to numerous studies, divorce rates plateau at a certain level of wealth before climbing back up again. Duke University states that a couple with a collective wealth of just $40,000 has a lower chance of divorcing than those who have less. This divorce rate lowers even further as the couple’s wealth advances beyond this number – until it reaches a level of $400,000. Past this point, divorce rates begin to rise once again. This suggests that while divorce is less likely when families have an emergency fund tucked away, this lower rate fades away when spouses save six or six-figure sums.
A similar plateau occurs with regard to income. Couples with a household income of $200,000 experience a lower-than-average divorce rate of just 30%. An even lower rate of just 25% is associated with a household income of $600,000 per year. However, the numbers begin to plateau and increase beyond this point, with divorce rates climbing back up to 30% with incomes higher than $600,000 per year.
Financial Outcomes of Divorce Across Genders
Numerous studies have concluded that different genders encounter very different financial circumstances after divorce. Many of these studies seem to contradict each other, and the results may be surprising to many readers.
Perhaps the most obvious and predictable outcome is the lower standard of living for women after a divorce. Some studies establish that a woman’s income tends to decline far more than that of their male counterpart after a divorce. One particular paper showed a 30% decline for women compared to just a 6% decline for men. However, this all depends on the circumstances of the woman. Those who remarry or begin cohabitation after divorce tend to experience much fewer financial effects compared to those who do not.
On the other hand, numerous studies have shown that men are more vulnerable to many other consequences of divorce, including not only economic status but also health, relationships, and mental well-being. These studies seem to indicate that men take longer to recover from a bad divorce, and they may be more likely to engage in unhealthy (and costly) behaviors.
In addition, it is important to note that a spouse might experience lower wealth after a divorce while reporting high levels of financial satisfaction. Indeed, studies show that despite earning less after a divorce, women tend to report the same levels of satisfaction with their financial situation as men. In other words, they earn less – but they are typically just as happy (or perhaps even happier).