When it comes to tying the knot and keeping that knot tied, Floridians do not do as well as their counterparts in the rest of the country. In fact, the knot unravels for 50,000 couples in Florida every year.
The Census Bureau determined that Florida has the 7th-highest divorce rate of all 50 U.S. states, and one out of five U.S. cities with high divorce rates is in the Sunshine State. Another study put Florida at #3 of all states for its divorce rate, only outranked by D.C. and Nevada.
Factors Affecting Florida Marriages
Why is the divorce rate so high in Florida?
It is common knowledge that Florida is considered a good place to execute a life “re-do”—i.e. the sunny state with miles of beaches draws people who want to leave their troubles and make a fresh start. They come from other parts of the United States and many come from other countries.
When a troubled marriage is the object of the Florida re-do, many couples find that after the location newness has worn off, the marriage troubles remain. Despite the sun and beaches, life is the same as it was before, the marriage frictions still exist, and the relationship hasn’t improved. Divorce follows.
Another contributing reason for Florida’s high divorce rate is the stress that many Florida couples find themselves enduring. Wallethub, a personal finance website, ranked Florida as one of the higher stressed states in the country. Florida ranked 16th out of the 50 states in a study that included stress factors such as average number of hours worked per week, employment opportunities, hours of adequate sleep, emotional health, crime rates, and percentage of people living in poverty.
A somewhat surprising contributing factor to Florida’s high divorce rate is the number of retirees who are choosing to end their marriages. Older people with 20-30 years of retirement ahead are more and more looking at whether or not they want to remain married. “Gray divorce” is a term that has been coined for this population sector that is choosing to untie the knot.
Florida’s divorce rate has also been boosted by immigrants who choose to end their marriages. Where couples with support networks are better able to stay together, people who have moved to Florida from other countries have left their support networks and have nowhere to turn for help and encouragement. Absent the support, marital issues become overwhelming and immigrant couples file for divorce, adding to the number of breakups in the state.
Divorce in Jacksonville, FL
Jacksonville, Florida, in recent years has claimed sixth position on a Men’s Health list of 10 cities in the United States with the highest divorce rates (only outranked by Little Rock, AR; Cheyenne, WY; Norfolk, VA; Albuquerque, NM; and Charleston, WV).
It looks like divorce lawyers in Jacksonville, FL have plenty of work to do!
The Good News
Despite the dismal divorce statistics for the state, the Florida Department of Public Health has said that Florida’s divorce rate has actually decreased over the past ten years. In fact, it is the lowest it has been since the 1980s. Additionally, the number of couples choosing to tie the knot has increased by 20% since 2014.
An initiative launched in Jacksonville to reduce the city’s divorce rate has seen preliminary success in its first 24 months. Called the Culture of Freedom Initiative, its programs include marriage preparation, marriage wellness, and faith development. Churches and local civic organizations have conducted these programs for over 35,000 participants.
After 24 months, third-party outside analysts have confirmed that Jacksonville’s divorce rate has dropped by 28 percent. This has resulted in children remaining in intact homes and a taxpayer savings of an estimated $50 million. The initiative is continuing its efforts in a third year of implementation.