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More people than ever before think divorce is morally acceptable

These days, divorce is so common that it isn't surprising to discover that someone has experienced it. Though there is sometimes a stigma attached, there is no reason for anyone to be ashamed for having a divorce. It is a common part of life.

If you plan to divorce, rest assured that society is less judgmental about the event than it used to be. Recent data shows that divorce is becoming more accepted over time. Interestingly, divorce rates in the U.S. are falling, even as this wider acceptance occurs.

Divorce is more morally acceptable

A recent annual Gallup poll, called Values and Beliefs, shows that, since 2001, the rate of people who think divorce is morally acceptable has risen by 14 points. That brings the rate up to 73 percent. Contrast that with data from 1954 when 53 percent of Americans did not believe in getting a divorce. This is welcome news for anyone considering divorce who might be worried about the potential social ramifications.

The largest change of opinion happened among older people. All age groups have increased their acceptance of divorce. But the percentage of those older than 55 went from 57 percent in 2001 to 71 percent in 2017.

How changes in state laws helped

A year before the first state allowed "no-fault" divorces, a significant majority of Americans wanted the government to ensure that divorce wasn't too easy in the United States. Even so, by 1985, nearly all states had implemented no-fault divorce laws of their own. This meant that divorce became more common, and presumably, public perception changed. The year 2001 was the first time that Gallup polled people regarding whether divorce was moral or not, and 59 percent responded affirmatively.

More married and religious people are okay with divorce

Breaking down the numbers further, Gallup found that the percentages of married people who found divorce morally acceptable has risen. People who are divorced or have never been married have stayed pretty consistent in their belief that there is nothing wrong with getting a divorce. Only 60 percent of married people said divorce was moral in 2001. That number rose to 70 percent by 2015.

Though many devoutly religious people are more likely to be against divorce, the number of those who believe it is acceptable has gone up. In 2001, only 43 percent of those who consider themselves very religious were supportive of divorce. By 2017, that figure had climbed to 51 percent. Christians seem to be more likely to oppose divorce, but 73 percent of Catholics and 64 percent of Protestants and non-Catholic Christians still say it is acceptable.

The takeaway

If you're concerned that people may shun you for getting a divorce, statistics are on your side. Divorce is something that many people go through, and you are not a bad person for having one. It might be the best decision you ever make.

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Dietz & Overmann, PLLC
130 Dudley Road Suite 150
Edgewood, KY 41017

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