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What does a high divorce rate reflect of modern marriages?

At present, about half of all spouses in Louisiana and across the rest of the country will see their marriage end in divorce. People have argued that it is too easy to get a divorce or that marriage no longer means what it used to, and a host of other inaccurate claims surrounding divorce. The fact of the matter is that divorce is never easy, and no one in Louisiana gets married with the intention of divorcing. Further, a divorce rate hovering around 50 percent is not indicative of a breakdown in the entire institution.

Instead, increased rates of divorce over the last few decades are largely a reflection of setting the bar higher. Residents of Louisiana are rightfully demanding more from their marriage, and more from their spouse. A financially stable but emotionally void marriage is no longer good enough for most.

This is particularly evident in the dramatic increase in the rate of couples ages 50 or older deciding to divorce. This increased rate of "gray divorce" has jumped from comprising just 10 percent of divorces two decades ago, to almost 25 percent of divorces at present. For many older couples, when there are still 20 or more years left to live, remaining in an unfulfilling relationship is not worth it.

As the stigma surrounding divorce has largely dissipated, more individuals unhappy with their spouse seek to find fulfillment and happier living situations facilitated through divorce. It's not that people are any unhappier at present; it is simply that more individuals are taking steps to actively change their circumstances. For many divorcing couples in Louisiana, spouses realize that they do not have to continue to endure the pain and loneliness of years past.

Disentangling two lives through a divorce can feel complicated. However, an experienced family law attorney can guide a divorcing individual carefully through each and every step of the process so that they can begin their path to fulfillment.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "A 'gray divorce' boom," Susan L. Brown, March 31, 2013

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