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Study shows divorce rates in the United States are declining

The overall divorce rate in the United States is declining. Americans have long been aware that the odds of a successful marriage were, statistically speaking, only one out of two. That's not terrific odds, by any measurement.

However, a new study from the University of Maryland indicates that divorce rates have fallen a whopping 18 percent between 2008 and 2016. However, there's a catch: Divorce rates for older couples are still as high -- or even higher -- than always. It's the younger generations that are staying married.

Researchers have also discovered that marriage rates have significantly declined among younger generations. The net result is that there are fewer marriages to begin with, but those people who do marry are far more stable in their relationships.

Overall, psychologists are inclined to see the change as positive, given how difficult divorce is on someone's emotional health. It doesn't mean that Americans are giving up on love. It just means that they are going into marital relationships with a lot more caution than they did in the past. The ability to do so is likely driven by changing social attitudes toward being single and/or childless, the ability that women have to provide for themselves and similar factors.

What can most people take away from this news? Essentially, you're more likely to stay married if you marry later -- after you've had a chance to fully develop your beliefs, sense of personal identity and a career. The stability you and your spouse bring to the relationship can easily translate into a more stable marriage overall.

It's also important to realize that the stigma against divorce and being single has faded dramatically over the last few decades. That's one of the reasons that many older couples may be divorcing. Long unhappy, they now feel that it's better to be "joyfully single" than in a relationship simply because they were always expected to get married.

Whether you're thinking of entering a marriage or you are contemplating divorce, it's often wise to talk potential issues -- particularly financial concerns -- over with a family lawyer. He or she can help you decide how to best protect your interests as you make the transition.

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