Approximately 50 percent of marriages in the United States and other developed nations end in divorce. The U.S. Census Bureau divorce statistics from 2012 are as follows for first, second, and third marriages:
41 percent of first marriages end in divorce.
60 percent of second marriages end in divorce.
73 percent of third marriages end in divorce.
It’s difficult to predict the outcomes for divorce because nearly every case is unique. Similarly, the manner in which people react to divorce varies. One person might be relieved to have his marriage behind him while another grapples through the stages of grief and wonders if the marriage could have been saved. The array of possible emotional responses has led to some interesting trends in the ways people cope with and transition through the stages of the divorce process. Here are a few examples of recent divorce trends:
In 2014, Keith Hinson and Michelle Knight from the United Kingdom snapped a joyous selfie of themselves holding their freshly signed divorce papers and posted the image to Instagram. The post went viral, and, since then, more couples have taken their own “divorce selfies.” Some resent this trend, arguing it is offensive to celebrate the end of a marriage, which society typically treats as a tragedy. Others believe that the stigma encompassing divorce tends to breed conflict and makes it difficult to split amicably, which is what Hinson and Knight were trying to do. “Michelle and I have a good sense of humor about this,” Hinson told the Huffington Post. “And we also wanted to let people know that this didn’t have to be a negative experience. We are choosing to move forward with love.“
A different approach to concluding a divorce is by throwing a “divorce party.” Although divorce is a trying experience for many, it also leads to a new level of freedom that can result in personal reinvention and rejuvenation, like the closing of a chapter in a book. So instead of grieving, some people feel like celebrating after divorce. Some divorce parties include just one of the ex-spouses and their friends and families, while others include both ex-spouses who wish to have one last hurrah as they attempt to transition into an amicable friendship post-divorce.
One of the chief concerns for parents considering divorce is the impact a divorce may have on their children. Some parents attempt to keep things as stable and consistent as possible by setting up a “bird’s nest” custody arrangement. “Nesting” is when the children remain in one house with the parents moving in and out depending on who has custody at a given moment. In theory, this makes for a simpler transition for children as a result of less disruption to their living situation. This arrangement can sometimes be useful for families if they coordinate and co-parent well. However, it should be noted that the amount of parental conflict a child is exposed to greatly increases the likelihood of negative consequences later in life. Nesting arrangements can turn sour quickly when one or both parents begin new relationships.
Crowdfunding involves getting people online to donate money to help fund a project or venture. Favorite websites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter allow users to support everything from startup businesses to dream vacations. As the trend has caught on in society at large, some people have even used crowdfunding to cover the costs of their divorce. This may not seem like a bad idea, considering how costly and unpredictable divorce can be. While some people may find this to be a beneficial way to mitigate divorce expenses, it can be hazardous. One should be wary not to reveal intimate details about a breakup for the sole purpose of enticing people to donate. There can be serious legal consequences if certain private information is shared.
These trends are slowly becoming part of our culture. While some people still think they’re in bad taste, many embrace them as a valuable ritual where friends and family can help a divorcing person through a difficult life change.
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