Falling Divorce Rate May Not Be Good News for Some
While studies have been done and some are undoubtedly ongoing to better analyze the current state of marriage and divorce in the United States, statistical data from the federal government suggest that the divorce rate has been falling for more than three decades. Certain research projects have disputed the decrease of the divorce rate, but when looked at in terms of divorces per capita, there is little doubt the overall trend is headed downward.
It is possible that a lower nationwide divorce rate indicates an increasing level of marital happiness. However, it could also mean that less couples are getting married, and therefore divorce is never an option, or that other factors are keeping a marriage intact despite unhappiness in the relationship. More than likely, all of these factors are contributing in some way to the lower rate of divorce.
Staying in an Unhappy Marriage
There is a great deal of research available which suggests that an unhappy marriage can be extremely unhealthy. Yet millions of married couples continue to remain married for a variety of reasons. Some are concerned for the well-being of their children, others are afraid of a post-divorce future, and still others feel they cannot afford a divorce. One of the largest contributing factors, though, for many Americans is the stigma still attached to divorce in many families, particularly among immigrant communities.
A prominent example can be seen in South Asian communities in the United States, one of the fastest-growing racial groups in the country. The South Asian region from which these immigrants originated includes the countries Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and, of course, India, one of the most populated countries in the world.
An estimated 70 percent of all Indian marriages are arranged, and the tradition has extended into South Asian communities in the United States, as well. Whether the marriage was arranged or not, social pressure to remain in the marriage, regardless of happiness, can be extreme, as divorce is seen by many in such communities as source of shame and bad luck. The stigma is further emphasized by the common cultural treatment of divorced individuals as outsiders, unworthy of inclusion in family and social functions.
Fortunately, there are some sources of help for those who feel stuck in an unhealthy marriage, especially those in South Asian communities. Additionally, many believe, also, the practice of arranged marriage is need of some reform to better allow for individuality and self-reliance in modern society. Marital happiness should take a higher priority than it traditionally has.
If you find yourself trapped in an unhappy and unhealthy marriage, you need to know that you have options. A qualified lawyer who is sensitive to personal and cultural pressures can help navigate this difficult time so that you are prepared for a happier future. Contact an experienced Geneva family law attorney today for a consultation.