How Many Marriages End in Divorce?

You may have heard the statistic that more than half of all marriages end in divorce, however, that is not currently the case in the United States. What percentage of marriages end in divorce? In the U.S., that number is approximately 39 percent. For those wanting to know more about the divorce rate in the U.S., you will notice that the numbers are actually trending downward. Forty years ago, if you were looking to see what percentage of marriages end in divorce, those figures would be closer to that 50 percent mark. 

While the divorce rate may be declining, the numbers still show that a large percentage of marriages do not last. How many marriages end in divorce? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics last reviewed Census data in 2018, and in the 45 states (plus Washington D.C.) that reported data, it was revealed that there were 782,038 divorces in the United States in 2018. We explore some of the most common reasons couples divorce below. 

Frequently Cited Reasons for Divorce

There have been numerous studies looking at frequently cited reasons for divorce. In many cases, there was more than one contributing factor. 

  • Lack of Commitment
  • Arguing
  • Infidelity
  • Married Too Young
  • Unrealistic Expectations
  • Unequal Partnership
  • Not Prepared for Marriage
  • Domestic Violence or Abuse
  • Addictions

Divorce percentages are higher or lower among certain groups as well. Couples married before the age of 25 are more likely to divorce than couples married after the age of 25. Strong religious affiliation also statistically leads to a lower divorce rate. 

Consult the Experts at Conniff Law Offices

Most couples get married with the intention of the marriage standing the test of time. However, even with the best possible intentions, life is unpredictable. If you have decided that divorce is the best course of action for you, contact the experienced attorneys at Conniff Law Offices. We understand that this can be a very difficult decision, and our team is dedicated to offering compassionate support alongside expert advice. Reach out to us about setting up a consultation at your earliest convenience. 

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Maybe It’s Time to Consider a Divorce

Marriage is seen by many as an institution that will stand the test of time. Nobody gets married with the intention to separate at some point, but years of misery and anger can make even the most optimistic newly-wed couple consider divorce down the road. Regardless of what friends and family members might say, everyone has a right to their own sense of happiness and safety.

Have you been asking yourself, “Should I get a divorce?” Although everyone’s relationship is different and unique to their situation, there are a few signs that indicate it might be time to separate.

Your Needs are Unmet

Marriage is a partnership; both spouses must work together to support one another and meet whatever needs each person has. These needs will vary between persons and couples. Some people require daily physical contact to feel that they are loved while others just need a few words of encouragement every once in a while to get them through the day.

Whether they’re physical, emotional or spiritual, you and your spouse both have certain expectations. Problems can arise when these expectations don’t align and needs aren’t met. There are a variety of stressors in life that can drastically affect a relationship in the short-term: finances, family issues, employment, etc. If you and your spouse work together, it’s possible to come back from these situations. However, in some cases, things just don’t go back to the way they were. This may have you asking the question, “Do I get a divorce or not?”

If over a period of months, or even years, you find yourself or your spouse contributing less to the partnership or ignoring the needs of the other person, it may be best to move on and find a more fulfilling relationship.

Intimacy and Infidelity

Most people require a certain level of intimacy in their marriage. Whether it’s emotional or physical, this closeness sets the relationship apart from normal friendships. As with any other need, problems can arise if this requirement isn’t met. The easiest fix would be to talk to your spouse about your feelings and express the lack of intimacy between the two of you. Of course, things aren’t always that simple.

If someone feels a lack of intimacy in their relationship, they sometimes look for it elsewhere. An extramarital affair is stereotypically portrayed as a physical, sexual relationship, but emotional cheating is equally as common. If you or your spouse are being unfaithful, it is a symptom of problems in the marriage. At the very least, you and your spouse should seek counseling, or contact a divorce attorney to explore options in the event the marital relationship ultimately breaks down. This can give you some clarity if you are wondering, “How do I know if I should get a divorce?”


No matter the state of your marriage, no one should ever live with abuse. If you believe you are a victim of physical or emotional abuse, consider contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). In such a situation your safety and the safety of any children you might have is of the utmost importance. Focus on separating yourself from your abuser and then immediately begin divorce proceedings when you are safe.

When Should I Get a Divorce? 

You may also be wondering if it is the right time to get a divorce. There really is no “one size fits all” answer to this question. A variety of factors can come into play, such as finances, insurance, and parenting. This is why it is best to seek a consultation with a divorce attorney or therapist to help you weigh your options. 

When it comes to finances, you need to determine whether an immediate separation of finances is necessary, what support obligations must be met, and what debts or expenses need to be taken care of before proceeding with a divorce. 

The needs of any children should also be taken into account. Before making a decision, it is best to take some time to determine what is in the best interest of the child or children. This could mean separating right away or waiting months, or even years. 

Divorce and Family Law Attorneys in Chicago

If you’ve decided that divorce is the best option for you or your family, contact the attorneys at Conniff Law Offices. Our Chicago family law firm strives to protect our clients and their families in uncertain times. Whether your case is uncontested, mediated, collaborative or litigated, our attorneys can provide invaluable guidance and empathetic support throughout the process.

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Annulment vs. Divorce

When comparing annulment vs. divorce, many individuals assume that an annulment is the easiest route to take and that a divorce will come with unwanted complications. Frequently, the exact opposite is true. When you work with an experienced family law attorney, a divorce can be a simpler solution with fewer situational requirements and time limits, posing fewer stresses during a difficult period in your life. To learn more, explore the differences between annulment vs. divorce with Conniff Law Offices of Chicago and Oak Park, below.

What is an Annulment? 

In Illinois, an annulment is “a declaration of invalidity of marriage.” A court order would say that the marriage is not valid and should not be recognized by the state as such. There are strict requirements that must be met when asking a court for a judgment of invalidity, which is what makes an annulment often more complicated than a divorce. Those requirements include:

  • If there is an issue of mental incapacity, intoxication, force, duress, or fraud that made the marriage invalid, the petition for a judgment of invalidity must be filed within 90 days of the petitioner becoming aware of the problem.
  • If there is an issue of physical incapacity with one of the spouses, the petition for a judgment of invalidity must be filed within one year of the petitioner learning about the incapacity.
  • If there is an issue of one spouse being under the age of 18 at the time of the marriage without a consenting parent or guardian, then the parent or guardian of the underage spouse must be the one to file for a judgment of invalidity, and it must be done before the individual reaches the age of 18.

What is a Divorce?

While an annulment is a court order that determines a marriage to be invalid, a divorce is a legal proceeding that ends a valid marriage – meaning that while you will no longer be legally bound to your ex-spouse and can remarry at any time, the marriage is still legally considered to have existed before your divorce. There are several benefits to choosing divorce over an annulment, including:

  • Fewer Requirements – As we highlighted above, annulments come with strict requirements and time limits that must be met in order to file for a judgment of invalidity. In a divorce, an individual can simply file for either a no-fault or fault-based divorce to start the process, so long as you and your spouse have lived in Illinois for 90 days.
  • Proof of Fault – Annulments require proof of fault for the marriage to be judged as invalid, while an individual could file for a no-fault divorce and not have to provide any proof of fault. 
  • Spousal Support Payments – Spousal support payments (or alimony payments), as well as the division of assets, must be determined by a court in a divorce. Additionally, any valid and enforceable pre-nuptial agreement or post-nuptial agreements must be upheld in a divorce. In an annulment, however, financial issues are essentially returned to the way they were prior to the marriage, which can be a significant setback for some individuals.

Discuss Your Options With a Divorce Attorney

When comparing annulment vs. divorce, some individuals find that divorce is a favorable method to pursue, offering fewer complexities and less stress throughout the process. If you are seeking the representation of an experienced divorce lawyer in Chicago or Oak Park, reach out to Conniff Law Offices today. Our team of attorneys consists of compassionate individuals who are dedicated to helping you through this difficult time in your life. Contact us today to learn more about the family law services we offer and schedule a consultation.

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How to Have a Smooth Divorce

Divorce doesn’t have to be distressing or expensive; there are ways to have a quick and affordable divorce. Collaborative divorce and divorce mediation allow couples to openly discuss issues that are commonly addressed during divorce proceedings, such as what’s best for the children involved and how assets are divided. Whether this is possible for your case depends on you and your spouse, as well your divorce lawyer. Learn more about how to have a divorce that’s easier on your wellbeing and finances below. 

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is essentially the opposite of divorce litigation. Divorce litigation can be a long, painful, and expensive process that’s draining physically, mentally, and financially for the divorcing couple, as well as any children involved. Collaborative divorce doesn’t take place in a courtroom; instead, the couple resolves their issues and makes decisions in a calm atmosphere with help from trained professionals. 

Typically, divorcing couples who choose to have a collaborative divorce will first hire a divorce lawyer in Chicago that specializes in collaborative law. Other professionals, such as a divorce coach, child specialist, and financial specialist, can also be included to provide guidance and advice wherever necessary. The agreements reached by the spouses are included in the judgement for dissolution of marriage, which is made final when the judge signs off on it as an order of the court. 

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is similar to collaborative divorce. Rather than litigating issues like child support, child custody, parenting time, division of assets, and more, divorce mediation allows a divorcing couple to create solutions to their disputes. These discussions are overseen by an impartial mediator. After the couple reaches a mediated divorce settlement, a family lawyer is hired to help carry out the settlement by drafting the agreement and finalizing the divorce with the court system. 

Divorce mediation can be advantageous in the following situations: 

  • A couple that owns a small business together chooses to divorce and wants to divide their assets. 
  • Parents who are divorcing need to find solutions regarding their children without going through painful litigation. 
  • A divorcing couple simply wants to have an amicable divorce that’s quick and cost-effective. 

Which Factors Affect the Type of Divorce You’ll Have?

Generally, whether you’ll have a smooth divorce depends on two factors: the settlement between you and your spouse and your legal representation. 

  • Your Divorce Settlement Agreement: Do you and your spouse already have an idea of how you’d like to divide child custody, parenting time, assets, etc.? If so, you’re at a good starting point for divorce mediation. If you haven’t discussed those issues yet, but aren’t hostile toward one another, finding a divorce lawyer in Oak Park that specializes in collaborative divorce may be beneficial for you. 
  • Your Divorce/Family Lawyer: Some lawyers are more aggressive and confrontational than others. During heated divorce litigation, that personality trait may be an advantage for you, but during a collaborative divorce, it’s a hindrance. The point of diviorce mediation is for all parties to maintain a level head. Choose a lawyer with a personality and approach that makes sense for your situation. 

Trust Our Family Lawyers in Chicago & Oak Park

At Conniff Law Offices, we understand the impact divorce litigation can have on families. That’s why we’re committed to delivering compassionate divorce mediation and collaborative divorce services whenever possible. Contact us to schedule a consultation in Chicago or Oak Park and learn more about how we can assist.

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How to Prepare for Divorce

Preparing for divorce can be a confusing and difficult time, and many people find themselves unprepared for, and even sometimes uninterested in, a long legal process. But with the right research and the right early steps, you can learn how to prepare for divorce and move through each step swiftly — so you can move into the next chapter of your life with peace and calm and a sense of confidence. Take a look at our best divorce preparation advice to start planning for the future, below.

Before the Divorce

Before you go through the process of divorce, there are several steps we recommend:

  • Get a Counselor: Consider speaking with a marriage counselor to learn new coping methods and strategies to guide you through this emotional time.
  • Get an Attorney: Find an attorney who specializes in divorce to advocate and advise you. Conniff Law Offices are located in both Chicago and Oak Park, serving the greater Chicagoland area with family law expertise.
  • Get Your Documents in Order: Collect important legal documents like your marriage certificate, prenuptial agreements, licenses, trust documents, wills, financial documents, and more. Set up a P.O. Box for private mail if you feel it necessary.

During the Separation

While preparing for divorce, it’s important to stay organized. Here are a few things to keep in mind while gathering your paperwork:

  • Banks: Make a list of your shared bank accounts and credit cards, along with login information and past statements if possible. Talk with your attorney about whether it is in your best interests to open a new bank account in your name alone.
  • Bills: Make a list of your monthly bills and confirm access information.
  • Home: Make a list of your mortgage information and assets. Speak with your attorney about the moving process to find out what is and isn’t reasonable and in your best interests during the divorce process.
  • Debts: Make a list of your debts. Talk with your attorney about perhaps calling your creditors to inform them of your changing circumstances. Also, ask your attorney what steps you need to take to protect your financial interests.

After the Divorce

You’ve worked hard to learn how to prepare for divorce, and now you’re ready to move on. But before you put this chapter of your life behind you, take some time to talk with an attorney to consider these final steps:

  • Re-Visit Your Will: When do you want to amend your will to reflect your new life and waive your ex-spouse’s right to inheritance?
  • Update Investments: When should you change beneficiaries to investment accounts, including retirement accounts?

Get Expert Divorce Preparation Advice From Conniff Law Offices

Preparing for divorce is complicated, and if you want the process to go quickly and smoothly, you need legal representation that you can trust. Contact us at Conniff Law Offices of Chicago and Oak Park to start a conversation with a family law attorney and get the divorce preparation advice that you need.

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