It has been long assumed, courtesy of information now considered inaccurate, that divorce rates in America have been steadily dropping over the last 30 years. However, new studies that may shock Illinois residents reveal quite the opposite. Although more young people are currently choosing cohabitation over traditional marriage, those who did “tie the knot” are untying it with more regularity, and divorce levels are apparently still on the rise.

The reason for the faulty information seems to be a failure to account for several key elements of the divorce algorithm — most notably, age standardization. This means that the population of the United States was younger per capita before 1980 and, therefore, at a higher risk of divorce. Applying new math to the existing number reveals that divorce rates have merely flattened out since then, not declined. In fact, when age standardization is applied across the board, it appears divorce rates have actually shot up an incredible 40 percent.

It is worth noting that divorce rates are not evenly balanced across every age group. Baby boomers who were married for years are still getting divorced with much greater frequency, giving rise to the so-called “grey divorce” phenomenon. In fact, boomers are credited by some studies as being the main contributors to the numbers regarding marital instability since the 1970s.

What does this mean for an Illinois resident considering divorce? First of all, it is a reminder that divorce can happen to anyone, regardless of how long they have been married. However, it also reinforces the importance of approaching a divorce with the right information about one’s rights and responsibilities under the divorce law in our state. The wrong information, as illustrated above, can lead to the wrong conclusions.

Source:, Divorce is on the rise, and it’s the baby boomers’ fault, Christopher Ingraham, March 27, 2014