Early marriage, quick divorce more common in the South

Early marriage, quick divorce more common in the South

September 4th, 2011 in Life Entertainment

Most people have seen the Holiday Inn Express commercials where the main characters pilot a helicopter, prevent a nuclear meltdown, or give smart advice simply because they "stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night."

Usually the commercials are followed by laughter because everybody realizes how outrageous it is for someone to do these things without training.

Oddly, many couples enter into living together, marrying, having children and/or divorcing on the same premise. They jump into marriage believing that all it takes is love, and no training is required.

When couples encounter rough times in their marriages, they usually do what they know to do. When that doesn't work, they file for divorce. For some reason, it never occurs to them to consider what they don't know -- that help from someone with training could get their marriage back on track.

Anybody who has been married for a period of time knows love isn't enough. When marriages and families break up, it is hard on the couple, as well as the children, friends, co-workers, extended family and the community.

A recently released report from the 2009 American Community Survey reveals interesting information about men, women and children related to marriage and divorce in the South.

Men and women in the South had higher rates of divorce than in other regions of the country.

"Divorce rates tend to be higher in the South because marriage rates are also higher in the South," said Diana Elliott, a family demographer at the U.S. Census Bureau.

Studies indicate that people marry younger in the South. In many Southern states, the waiting period to get a divorce is 90 days compared to six to 12 months in Northern states.

Additional findings showed that:

  • Women who divorced in the previous 12 months were more likely to receive public assistance than recently divorced men. Of the women who divorced in the past 12 months, 27 percent had less than $25,000 in household income.

  • Those who married in the previous 12 months were most likely to be living in households making $75,000 or more a year.

  • Children living with a recently divorced parent were more likely to be below poverty level and living with their parents' unmarried partner. (Studies indicate that children who live with their parents' unmarried partner are 33 percent more likely to be abused.)

Why should you care?

For every mother and two children living in poverty it costs taxpayers on average $55,866 per year for every year they remain in poverty.

Also consider, eventually your children will be interested in marriage. How will they know how to do marriage well if they don't have any healthy examples?

Email Julie Baumgardner at julieb@firstthings.org.