When you decided to begin your marriage, you likely did so with the intent of ensuring your relationship would last forever. If you’re like most people, however, chances are that your marriage has experienced its share of troubles. For many Oklahoma residents, recurring marital troubles can lead to a legal dissolution of a marriage – more commonly known as divorce.
Divorce Is More Common in Oklahoma Than in Most Other States
For years, the state of Oklahoma – as well as Oklahoma City itself – has ranked atop other states with one of the highest divorce rates in the land. Statistically, what that means is that if you are married, and if you live in Oklahoma, you are more likely to get divorced than the average United States citizen. Existentially, of course, what that means is that you are far from alone – a thought that is often mildly comforting.
In fact, according to US Census statistics compiled in 2018, Oklahoma had the third-highest divorce rate in the country, trailing only Arkansas and South Dakota – and over 30% higher than the national average. Even with a decrease between 2008 (the last time rates were calculated) and 2018, the state exceeded other states with which it had previously remained close, including Kentucky, Oregon, Indiana, and Alabama. However, differences in how the divorce rate is actually calculated can alter the state’s placement within the top five states for this dubious honor.
Just How Common Is Divorce In Oklahoma?
In 2019, Oklahoma’s crude divorce rate was 4.1 divorces per 1000 people. However, since the crude divorce rate does not take into account that not every single person in Oklahoma is of age to be married, it is not the best figure to determine how common divorce is here. According to US Census figures, the refined rate – the rate of divorce per 1000 people over 15 – is more than twice as high at 10.8 divorces per 1000 people.
Put another way, almost 35% of people that have ever been married in Oklahoma will experience divorce. Both this percentage and the refined divorce rate have remained relatively stable over the past few decades, even with the recent decrease. Perhaps even more revealing is that although the national divorce rate has steadily declined in recent years, Oklahoma remains steadfast in its high numbers.
Why Is the Divorce Rate So High in Oklahoma?
Just as multiple reasons likely contributed to the difficult decision to end your own marriage, the divorce rate in Oklahoma cannot be attributed to any one factor. However, experts at Oklahoma City University and the Pew Research Center have identified numerous potential contributing factors. Theories regarding Oklahoma’s high divorce rate include:
- Young age. Both men and women in Oklahoma tend to get married two years younger than the national median ages at the time of their first marriage of 26 and 28, respectively. The lowest five states in this category tend to have some of the highest divorce rates. In contrast, states with relatively high median marriage ages like New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey also have some of the lowest divorce rates. Immaturity and lack of life experience can have a drastic effect on the success of a marriage, which is reflected in these statistics.
- Financial stress. According to Oklahoma City University, the state as a whole has a large number of married couples and families with incomes falling below the poverty line. The high number of couples experiencing financial strain in Oklahoma likely helps to explain the high divorce rate. Why? Financial issues are cited as one of the chief reasons for divorce. Unequal incomes, children, and disagreements regarding money increase this stress.
- Domestic issues. As of 2010, the last time information was compiled on the issue, as many as 49% of Oklahoma women and 40% of Oklahoma men had been subject to verbal, emotional, or physical abuse within the confines of a relationship. Often, too, issues of child mental, emotional, and physical abuse can contribute to divorce. Add to those figures the high number of Oklahoma City residents involved in extramarital dating and affairs, and you have a recipe for a high divorce rate.
Utilize a Reputable Oklahoma City Divorce Lawyer
If you have experienced any of these Oklahoma-specific factors, it is important to realize that you are not alone – many Oklahoma residents file for divorce every day. In particular, if you are frequently exposed to physical, mental, or emotional domestic abuse, exiting your marriage can be a matter of life and death. No matter the circumstances behind your divorce, it is essential that you reach out to a reputable Oklahoma City divorce lawyer for help. Contact Stange Law Firm today to begin the first steps towards financial security and safety for you and your loved ones.