Capital News Service

of the Michigan State University School of Journalism

Divorce rate dropping but varies across Michigan

By JULIET WANG

Capital News Service

LANSING—Divorce rates have been declining statewide for reasons that include the fact that couples  are waiting longer to get married and living together rather than marrying.

Financial considerations also affect the divorce rate, experts say.

The counties with the lowest divorce rate are Oscoda with 4.7 divorces per 1,000 residents, Houghton with 4.7, Leelanau with 5.0 and Washtenaw and Arenac counties, both with 5.1 in 2008, according to the  Department of Community Health (DCH).

The counties with the highest divorce rate are Crawford with 12.1, St. Joseph with 10.1, Iron with 10, Grand Traverse with 9.6 and Clare with 9.4 in 2008, according to DCH. The state average in 2008 is 6.7 and in 1998 it was 7.8.

Thomas Blume, an associate professor of counseling at Oakland University, said there several reasons why divorce rates are falling.

“It can be traced to marital habits to the 1960s and ‘70s up until the ‘90s that people are waiting longer to get married. These kinds of marriages are not as impulsive and not as risky,” said Blume.

“In the 1970s, the option of living together without marriage wasn’t there.  When the couple breaks up, it. won’t show up as a divorce. I would like to think people are more accomplished, more aware. But people have unrealistic expectations,” Blume added.

Linda Glover, executive director of the Resolution Services Center of Central Michigan and a domestic relations mediator  for 10 years, said finances are a factor in the lower divorce rates.

“The times are different. It costs money to divorce, and two households split up the amount of debt,” said Glover.

“We‘re seeing a lot more people divorcing in serious debt. The debt gets worse. It used to be a single household — then it splits.”

There are less expensive alternatives to divorce, but couples still might not divorce for economic reasons.

“We have couples at the point of divorce and mediation helps without litigating in court. For other couples, it prevents more debt,” Glover said. “Then because of the debt, divorce is just talked about.”

Glover’s center provides mediation services in Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Ionia, Gratiot and Shiawassee counties.

© 2010, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism. Not to be reproduced without permission.

Advertisements

Filed under: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About CNS

CNS reporters cover state government — issues and personalities.



Covering stories of meaning to their member papers, they come in contact with the important newsmakers of the day, from the Supreme Court justices and the governor to members of the Legislature and the people who run the state government departments, to lobbyists and public-interest organizations.



Then they also talk with “real people” — the individual citizens and businesses in communities to get their reactions to what’s happening in Lansing.



In addition to weekly news stories, CNS students write in-depth articles on issues facing state government and their impact on taxpayers.
%d bloggers like this: