Marriage And Divorce In America

There is no denying that marriage and divorce are big industries, not just in America but worldwide.  the divorce rates are still high in America with a divorce rate of 53%, we are not the country with the highest divorce rates. Countries with higher divorce rates include Portugal, Spain, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, and Hungary, which all have divorce rates higher than 60%.

It is estimated that in the western world roughly 90% of people will marry at least once before the age of 50. So how many marriages end in divorce?  The answer is 40-50%; however, statistic show that worldwide divorce rates are currently on a 3-decade decline.

The current marriage rate is 6.8 per 1,000 and the current divorce rate is 3.4 per 1,000. The probability that a first marriage will last 10 years or more is 6.6% with the probability dropping increasing for subsequent marriages.

Therefore, with marriage a divorce still proving a common occurrence, it is no wonder businesses are using the opportunity to make money.


The marriage industry

There are approximately 2.5 million weddings held in the United States every year, the average amount spent on a wedding $35,329 with the wedding industry estimated to be worth $50 billion annually.

The industry changed into a capitalist somewhere between the 1920 to 1950. The types of things people consider traditional (such as cake, gown, flowers, etc) grew in popularity during this time due to increased marketing and advertisements.

The 1960 to 1970 saw an increase of couples deviating away from ‘traditional’ weddings in favour of more ‘alternative’ ideas, including holding a wedding outside of a church. This change has been credited to the growth of the ‘destination wedding’ that is growing increasingly popular and has become a huge industry in itself.

So how comes the marriage and weddings generate so much money?

  • the average amount spent on an engagement ring is $5,871, with wedding rings costing on average $1,574
  • the average bridal gown costs $1,564
  • the average amount spent on gifts is $19 billion with each guest spending between $70-$100 on wedding gifts
  • the average total amount each guests will spend on a wedding is $703
  • 24% of weddings are destination weddings, the destination wedding market is estimated to be worth $16 billion annually
  • the average budget for a destination wedding is $28,000
  • the average guest will spend $673 to attend a destination wedding
  • the honeymoon market is estimated to be worth $12 billion annually
  • the average honeymoon costs $4,446, however luxury honeymoons, which account for 15% of the market cost, on average $9,954 for 11 days

Weddings however do not need to be costly; it is possible to get married cheaply if you know how and where to cut costs –

  • take a class or research wedding planning
  • cutting the cake and throwing the bouquets early will means that your wedding photographer can leave earlier in the day – even better make your own cake, hire a friend to take photos, and design your own bouquets and flowers
  • when buying alcohol ensure you pay by the head and not by the drink
  • use credit cards where possible, credit cards come with added protection should anything go wrong
  • skip buying expensive customised wedding invitations – or even better design and make your own
  • source local supplies – if you are buying something (such as your dress, cake, flowers, etc) then look and see who is available locally


The divorce industry

On the other side to marriage, you have divorce. Whilst marriage can be done cheaply, divorce is almost guaranteed to be expensive.

It may seem weird to think of divorce as an industry however, the divorce industry is estimated to be worth $28 billion annually. In the United States, there is an estimated one million divorces annually. The cost of divorce is estimated to be between $10,000 to $20,000 with the average divorce costing $15,000 but the actual cost differs greatly state by state.

The average couple however has been found to underestimate the total cost of divorce and the cost of divorce can rise due to lack of knowledge and awareness.

The cost of divorce can be affected by –

  • insufficient financial knowledge of the client
  • complexity of the case both financial and nature
  • involvement of experts such as business and earning capacity
  • efficiency of the clients lawyer
  • lawyers fees and charges
  • the increased expense when changing lawyers
  • administration fees
  • the court process including availability of all parties and the court

The number one reason, however, that divorce is expensive is because often the two parties cannot agree. The cost of divorce is reduced immensely when the two parties can settle their differences amicably without the use of expensive lawyers and judges. However, when the two parties are determined to fight each other then the only option available is often letting a judge decide who gets what, when, and where.

In order to reduce the costs of divorce the two parties will need to be able to sit down calmly and be civil. It will help the whole process if you can agree on –

  • how to split major assets such as bank accounts, property, and valuables
  • if you have children agree how you will split parenting time and who and how much child support will be paid
  • it is also worth discussing how will major decisions relating to joint assets and children will be decided


For better or worse

The marriage and divorce industries are both booming at the moment with both industries bringing in billions of dollars every year, whilst this may be good news for the industry this is not necessarily good news for the couple involved.

The major costs such as honeymoons and legal fees can mean that couples face spending thousands of dollars.

There is no denying that both marriage and divorce can be extremely expensive, however it is possible to reduce costs. It just involves a lot of planning and working together.

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