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Digging deeper: Why divorce rates are decreasing

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The saying that "50% of all marriages end in divorce" no longer rings true, now it's 39%.

La Crosse County divorce filings have decreased since 2014.

In 2019, 311 people filed for divorce as opposed to 354 divorce requests in 2014. According to Time Magazine, 39% of U.S. marriages end in divorce--not the typically assumed 50%.

Recent pop culture projects like Netflix's "Marriage Story" and HBO's "Divorce" depict the emotional and financial toll the divorce process can take on families.

"I'm certainly not here advocating for divorce or anything," Johns, Flaherty & Collins attorney Sonja Davig said. "I think it makes people feel better if they have a strong and passionate attorney behind them to try to help them through the process."

It is an expensive decision. Johns, Flaherty & Collins "Users Guide to Divorce" include a Mardindale-Nolo study that suggests the average Wisconsin divorce costs $11,300.

La Crosse couple Taylor Bates and Peter Scheibe attribute the recent decrease in divorce rates to younger generations of couples living more progressively and independently.

"People are waiting to get married so they're more financially stable and they know what they want in life," Bates said. "They've already achieved some of their goals so their significant other isn't holding them from anything. It's more equal now. You're just partners trying to help each other."

The two got engaged after five years of dating and three years of living together.

"You learn each other's tendencies over the years," Scheibe lightheartedly explained while talking about the challenges of learning while living with a significant other. "She'll either be quiet or she won't talk to me and usually she just ignores me. Eventually, I can get it out of her."

The University of North Carolina reports that the trend of couples living together before marriage contributes to lower divorce rates.

The Journal of Marriage and Family reports that living together before marriage has the opposite outcome.

However, Bates and Scheibe said it was the right choice for their situation.

"I couldn't fathom not living with someone before marriage," Bates said. "You see each other on date nights but that's not the real you all the time. So I think people are living together before marriage so they're learning how to work together through conflict."

Bates and Scheibe will marry in October 2021.

Victoria Saha

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