Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer
Mon - Fri 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
8833 S. Redwood Rd. Suite C, West Jordan, UT

Did Divorce Rates Increase In The 1990s?

Did Divorce Rates Increase In The 1990s

Divorce has been having fluctuating rates and factors since the 20th century. However, in 1990, there were many observations made concerning divorce. Did the divorce rates increase. Did they decrease? Why did they change? Were the children affected? These and more questions you ask yourself. Continue reading the article to the end to get a better insight and answer to your questions.

Here is a brief history about divorce within four decades


In California, a no fault divorce bill was signed making it possible for couples to file divorce without having to prove to the court that their spouse was unfaithful or had abandoned them. Within no time, other states adopted the culture and couples could now split on the basis of irreconcilable differences.

The no fault divorce led  to more freedom in marriage in the 70’s. However, this had terrible consequences. About 50% of the couples who married during this time ended up getting divorced and approximately half of the children who were born by couples married during this time watched their parents getting divorced.

Many of those splits were initiated by women: Over 70 percent of women in some states filed for divorce after the introduction of no-fault divorce.


No fault divorce continued ruling the way people viewed divorce. However, some states imposed different rules on marriage and divorce. There are some states where you could obtain a no-fault divorce after being separated for a year while other it was for two years . Still, there was not enough light for child support. In the 80’s most states and nations came up with guidelines that ruled child support especially in situations where the parent who had the child custody was not financially stable to care for the kids. The Uniform Marital Property Act was passed in 1983 by some states to put an end to squabbling over property that had been acquired during marriage, but it also made this clear: Any property acquired before marriage belongs solely to that person.


In the 90’s many couples sought mediators who would help them sort their disputes instead of having the court help them battle their differences. Even in this, court would refer most couples to mediation during this is during this decade when covenant marriages became popular in most states. In this covenant marriage, couples were allowed to sign contracts that required them to seek mediation, counseling, as well as other restrictions before filing a divorce. Essentially, the covenant marriage would make it hard for a couple to get a divorce.


In this decade, the collaborative process kicked off. This is a voluntary process that couples can elect prior to filing for a divorce where they agree to sit down with their respective attorneys in four-way meetings and focus on a settlement that is in the family’s best interest couples would agree to be honest and upfront about all information, more couples could actually avoid court. Well, it was also a proper way of making divorce less expensive.

Divorce rates statistics in 1990

In 1990, the approximate number of divorcing couples in the United States was 1,182,000. This was the highest number recorded since 1985. In 1985, the number of divorcing couples was 1,190,000. This recorded number in 1990 was 3% lower than the peak number recorded in 1981 which was 1,213,000.

In 1991, the number remained the same but increased slightly in 1992. Women at risk of divorce had a high number which kept on decreasing until 1994. i n general almost 2% of married couples divorced in 1990.

Children involved in divorce in 1990s

Divorce affects children both emotionally, physically, and economically. The number of children involved in divorce in the 1990s was approximately 1,075,000 every year. This number kept on fluctuating and it depended on the number of couples that were divorcing at that time. The age of these children was ranging between 3 to 15 years. The effect of divorce was a huge burden to bear and it affected them in the following ways:

  • They lost interest in social activities
  • It was difficult for them to adapt to the changes like the new family dynamics, new houses, friends, and schools
  • They became emotionally sensitive and became angry, anxious, confused, among others.
  • Children became more irritable because of the overwhelming nature of their parents’ divorce
  • Feelings of guilt were on the rise among children as they often thought that it is their fault that their parents were separating.
  • The kids were affected by health problems and contacted stress related diseases like stomach ulcers, depression and even worse mental illnesses
  •  These children ended up losing faith in marriages and family units. They never considered marriage as a goal in their lives because it went nasty on their parents.
  • They became prone to substance abuse. The children can engage in drugs and alcohol to vent out the frustration and anxiety that comes along with their parents’ divorce.
  • Poor performance in school. Children may get poor grades since they may find it quite hard to concentrate on their studies.

Reasons why divorce rates increased in the 1990s

Divorce rates did not increase in the 1990s for no reason. They were prompted by a number of factors. These factors were either social, economical, emotional or legal.

Divorces became common

Divorce was no longer a taboo as it was viewed in the past. People took divorce as a norm and once married, you had an option of divorcing. In the early 1900s, divorce was not an option. Government and religious leaders were trying their best to set up rules which would help eliminate divorce. Any divorced couple was viewed as f failure in the society. Worse off, the women from divorced homes were seen as weaklings as they could not support their marriages. Therefore, divorce was never an option. As years progressed, divorce became common and hit its peak in the 1990s as men and women found it easier to divorce.

Rules concerning divorce became easy

Initially, for one to divorce, you had to provide evidence that your partner was unfaithful, or he or she had abandoned you. This was not a walk in the park for couple who wanted to divorce and they ended up staying together. As the years progressed, one could just get a divorce without having to provide such evidence.  This made things easier and couples were now free to divorce at all costs. Additionally, here were courts set specifically for divorce and other family issues. Therefore, any couple that wanted a divorce would not have to got to the law courts to file a divorce.

Advancements in technology

Technology affected divorce rates at a very high percentage. There came asier ways of serving papers to your partner whenever you wanted a divorce. Initially, you would be the one serving the papers of divorce to your spouse and this sounded so hard for the other spouse until they had to give up on the divorce. As the years advanced, there came better ways of serving the papers and therefore, any couple that wanted divorce would find it easy to send the documents without necessarily having to meet the spouse. Mailing wa the most efficient method of sending papers and the following mailing methods are being use to date:

First class mail

You can send the petition to your spouse through their postal address together with an acknowledgement form where your spouse will be required to sign, date, and send them back. If they do not return them by the specified method, you might be forced to use another method to send the papers

Certified mail

Using a certified mail requires you to send the divorce papers along with a return receipt for your spouse to sign. This return receipt is then mailed back to the sender and serves as  a proof of service in court.

Still in technology, advancement in media brought up divorce cases. The TV shows became inclined on divorcing couples and those who got addicted in watching them ended up getting a divorce as a result of what they see on their screens. Since communication was becoming easier, cases of infidelity were on the rise and couples could no longer trust one another. Therefore the end result was divorce.

Support for children was made clearer and easy

Children used to be the unifying factors between parents. Every time the thought of divorce would cross their minds, they thought about their kids and how much they will be affected. However, in the 1990s, there came different ways of supporting the children which had to be decided in court. This made parents feel more secure sicne their children could be supported and taken care f their partners or themselves in the following ways:

Through child support

If you are going through a divorce and there are minors involved is mandatory to include the child support clause. The support is compulsory whether the parent is unemployed or is nowhere to be found. Different states have different laws that dictate the guidelines for payments.

The settlement amount is pegged at certain levels depending on the amount of time spent with the minor and the level of income of the concerned parent. The pegged amount can include or exclude the following expenses, child care, health care and insurance, travel and visitation costs and special education and related expenses.

Through child custody

The law stipulates that children under the age of 18 are minors and therefore both parents must decide on their custody. There are four main types of custody that the court can grant. There is the sole physical custody in which the minor is under the supervision of one parent.

The second type of custody is the sole legal custody where one parent will make all the decisions concerning the welfare of the minor. The other type of custody is the joint physical custody in which all the parents will have physical contact with the minor at separate times.

The last type of custody is the joint legal custody in which all the parents can make decisions concerning the wellbeing of the minor.

Women empowerment

Women used to be patient with abusive partners. Actually, the society would deem a woman who stay in an abusive marriage as an ideal wife. However, they were hurting and having a rough time in abusive marriages. While the society would not allow them to file for a divorce, some people came up with women empowerment groups. These groups would educate women on the importance of speaking out whenever they experienced domestic violence. They were advised to stay away from abusive marriages and whenever their marriages would not work, they would file for a divorce. This made women stronger and hey could not sustain any form of abuse in marriages. As a result, the rates of divorce were on the rise.

Is It Time For Divorce?

It is profound that divorce rates were o high during this particular decade. However, this was not a good gesture. As the divorce rates went high, so did cases of mental illnesses shot. Different regions had increased rates of suicide and school dropouts by children from broken homes. In as much as divorce has its positive sides like women were able to evade abusive marriages, the negative effects outweigh the positive ones.

The increased rates affected the economy of different states. This was due to property misunderstandings that cropped up among couples as they vowed to divorce. The children who were taken as the future generation got adversely affected by the divorce rates and ended up engaging in drugs and other heinous activities. The couples who divorced were left with scars and they started on different revenge missions which dragged the development of any particular region. However, the government took it upon themselves to educate people on effects of divorce as well as how to avoid it. The rates are going down every year and that is a positive feedback

Divorce Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need legal help from a divorce lawyer in Utah, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506 for your Free Consultation. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506