There are many different types of divorce in the United States — some of which are amicable, and some of which are high-conflict.
The total percentage of marriages that end in divorce in the U.S. is estimated to be between 40 and 50 percent. Year to year this percentage fluctuates but has been declining since 2000. The factors surrounding a marriage can greatly affect the likelihood of it ending in divorce.
In fact, there are some shocking statistics about divorce that might surprise you!
Did you know?
- There were 827,261 divorces finalized in 2016 in the U.S. That same year, there were 2.2 million marriages.
- Annulments are declining in numbers since the 1990s.
- Someone files for divorce in the U.S. every thirteen seconds.
- Each time you remarry, your chances of divorce go up. In fact, first marriages average a 41% divorce rate, while second marriages have a 62% rate of divorce, and third marriages have a whopping 73% chance of ending in divorce.
- The average length of a first marriage is 8 years.
- 66% of divorces are filed by women.
- Only a dozen states recognize common law marriage in the U.S.
The different types of divorce in the United States fall into nine categories:
Type 1 – Fault and No-Fault Divorce
It used to be that in the U.S., one had to prove fault to be granted a divorce. Divorce was sought due to adultery, abandonment, and other factors that made staying in a marriage difficult. Today, most states have “no-fault” divorce statutes. Certain states provide the “fault” option in addition to the no-fault scenario. Overall, no-fault divorces are now standard practice in the U.S., allowing for an easier divorce process for couples who do not have a lot of asset division or conflict.
Type 2 – The Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce is a collaborative option where couples work together to define divorce terms. Generally, both parties file their paperwork with the court separately and reach peaceful consensus, with the court serving as the officiant of the agreement. This type of divorce cuts down on the need for hearings, settlement negotiations or other court procedures.
Type 3 – Arbitration
Sometimes couples can’t come to an agreement on their own, but also do not want to take it to probate court. In those cases, they may opt for arbitration. This scenario relies upon the help of a private judge, known as an arbitrator. He/she weighs both sides’ cases as a non-biased third party, making a ruling much like a judge would in court.
Type 4 – Mediation
Out of the different types of divorce in the United States, mediation tends to have the least amount of conflict. While some couples want to stay agreeable and negotiate the terms of their divorce peacefully, they often still need a little help from a third party. This is where mediation comes in.
This differs from arbitration in that a mediator does not make any decisions, rather he or she facilitates tough conversations in a structured environment to allow the divorcing couple to reach consensus. The ultimate goal is an agreement that can then be finalized before a judge. Mediation tends to be less expensive than both parties using lawyers.
Type 5 – Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce is another type of divorce process which does not require court involvement. In this scenario, both parties retain their own attorneys. The lawyers involved typically have a special focus on collaborative law. The divorcing spouses sign an agreement at the beginning of this process, committing to working together to reach an agreement.
If they do not honor this agreement, the lawyers will withdraw from the case and the spouses will need to start from the beginning. This is often a great motivation for couples to keep working on the process until an agreement is reached.
Type 6 – Default Divorce
In some divorce scenarios, one of the parties simply takes off and does not respond to the divorce petition filed by the other party. In such cases, the court grants the divorce “by default”, without the need for the estranged spouse to be present.
Type 7 – Summary Divorce
When a divorcing couple is in the position to cooperate, a summary divorce may be utilized. This is a simple divorce option for parties without significant assets and children. These are usually couples who are not married for long periods of time. In a summary divorce, both spouses typically only fill out and file a few forms. Different states have different rules about the limits on assets and duration of marriage required to utilize this option.
Type 8 – Contested Divorce
A contested divorce is usually the more complicated and difficult type of divorce. It usually involves both parties hiring separate attorneys and taking contentious issues before the court for the judge to decide. There are typically settlement negotiations, hearings, and in extreme cases, even a trial. This form of divorce may be necessary when the divorcing couple have substantial assets or disagreements surrounding custody and parenting.
Type 9 – Same-Sex divorce
Since all states now allow same-sex marriage, same-sex couples also have legal recourse to end their marriages, domestic partnerships or civil unions formally. These scenarios often use the same forms and proceedings as heterosexual couples.
Of the different types of divorce in the United States, there are many which can be resolved peacefully. That being said, there are also many types of divorce which are high-conflict and require litigation. Each case varies from couple to couple and is determined by how the couple and their lawyers wish to settle the divorce proceedings.
Sophie Wright is a passionate blogger. Being in love with writing her whole life, she started her Free Background Checks blog as a way to shed light and give knowledge on many major social issues and make a difference with her word. The blog was born out of a pure desire to share and connect.