Why Is Florida’s Divorce Rate so High Compared to The Rest of The Nation?

USA Today just published a report comparing the costs of divorce in each state of the United States. Florida had some surprising statistics. According to the report, Florida has:

  • Avg. cost of divorce without children: $13,500 (15th highest)

  • Avg. cost of divorce with children: $20,300 (16th highest)

  • Avg. divorce filing fee: $350 – $410

  • Cost of living: 0.1% less than the national average

  • Median household income: $55,462 (14th lowest)

  • Divorced population: 13.2% (4th highest)

Florida is the fourth highest-ranking state for divorce. What could be driving the divorce rate in the sunshine state?

Specific Reasons for Divorce in Florida

People get divorced for so many reasons. Serious reasons for divorce include things like domestic violence and infidelity while other reasons are less traumatic, like arguing or disagreeing too much or simply not likely each other anymore. Divorce for these reasons happens anywhere and everywhere in the United States. There are, however, two specific factors affecting residents of Florida that may have an impact on a spouse’s determination to divorce or an impact on why Florida’s divorce rate is so high:

  1. high rate of immigrants; and

  2. high rate of new residents yearly.

Immigrants & Divorce

Just because you are an immigrant, it does not mean you will divorce. In fact, many immigrants cultural and religious believes are not congruent with divorce. That said, as an immigrant (or an adult child of an immigrant), the very nature of being an immigrant can isolate you. Immigrants leave their countries of birth, uproot their immediate families, and leave behind a once well-connected support system. Now, in this new country, they may find themselves alone without support to help them through tough times. Being alone in a new country is enough stress without the stress of a rocky relationship. The combination of those two things along with the relative ease of getting a divorce (fault is not required to attain a divorce) in Florida opposed to the divorce laws (or lack thereof) of the countries where some immigrants are from may be the foundation for a higher divorce rate among immigrants.

As of 2017, according to the Migration Policy Institute, 20.9% of all residents of Florida are foreign-born. Further, this statistic is the result of a 64% increase of foreign-born residents since 2000. According to Pew Research, two Florida cities – Orlando and Miami – are included among the top 20 cities in the United States to have the largest number of immigrants.

New Residents & Divorce

Immigrants are not the only ones making their new home in Florida, but other Americans are doing the same. In December 2019, a report was published by the Florida Office of Economic & Demographic Research. In the Executive Summary, it states more than 300,000 new residents move to Florida each year. The report states that

These increases are analogous to adding a city slightly larger than Orlando every year.

The number of Florida residents now exceeds the number for New York. But who is moving here? Many are people who want a fresh start at life, and for some of them, that may mean a divorce. There are younger and older people moving here, too, who may not come with the intention to divorce but who may experience life differently. And because of these new experiences and new perspectives on life, they eventually divorce.

The Key Takeaway on Divorce in Florida

Life happens. The more people there are, the more experiences there are, the more possibilities there are for change to occur. Sometimes, change involves divorce.

That’s not always a bad thing. But it is a hard thing.

Discussing your options with an attorney only means getting information to make an informed decision, it doesn’t mean you have to commit to a divorce. So, if you are a resident of Orlando, Florida – whether a relatively new resident or born in the state – and are thinking of divorce, contact us. We understand the gravity of this decision and will walk you through your options so you make the right decision for you.


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