How Divorce Works

Divorced Couple Upset with Broken Home in Background
Divorce may be common but do you understand how divorce really works? Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

Chances are, we all know someone who is divorced -- probably several someones. In 2000, there were over 957,200 finalized divorces in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau says that 50 percent of all marriages entered into today will end in divorce. That's a lot of broken homes, heartaches and paperwork, not to mention money spent on attorney fees and court costs.

But, some say those percentages of future doomed marriages have to be interpreted based on other factors. Barbara Whitehead and David Popenoe's "The State of Our Unions" (2004), which was prepared at Rutgers University for the National Marriage Project, says that there are several important social factors that affect that 50 percent estimate. For example, your risk of divorce decreases by:


  • 30 percent if your annual income is more than $50,000
  • 24 percent if you had a baby more than seven months after you got married
  • 24 percent if you were over 25 when you got married
  • 14 percent if your own parents never divorced
  • 14 percent if you go to church as a family
  • 13 percent if you attended some college

In this article, we'll find out why divorces are easier to get now than they used to be and learn about the types of divorce, what the procedures are and what's involved in the final divorce agreement. We'll explore mediation as an alternative to litigation and see what it takes to get a DIY divorce.