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Divorce rate down, marriages up slightly

While divorce appears to be on the decline in Virginia and across the U.S., researchers say that this statistic does not necessarily predict whether an individual couple's marriage will last or not. Some experts claim there is still a 50/50 chance of every marriage ending in divorce.

The figures showing a third consecutive year of a drop in divorces come from the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University. Some researchers say that the drop may be a result of changing gender roles and the fact that people are marrying less. While there was a slight increase in marriage rates from 2014 to 2015, overall, more people married in the 1970s and 1980s. There has also been an increase in people choosing to live together rather than marry. In 2014, roughly 3.2 million people over the age of 50 were cohabiting. This is almost three times as many as in 2000.

Baby boomers married young, but they are also marrying and divorcing more later in life. It is not yet clear whether Millennials and Generation Xers, who did not marry as young, will follow a similar pattern as they get older.

Despite the prevalence of divorce, the process itself can be both emotionally and financially devastating. People who are getting a divorce need to make sure that those emotions do not overwhelm their financial decisions. A drop in the standard of living is not unusual after a divorce, but there are steps a person can take to protect themselves. For example, a spouse who has stayed home caring for the children may be able to get spousal support while they train for a new job.

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