The Future of Divorce Part I: Predictions for 2014 and Beyond

The past decade brought many changes to the field of divorce and divorce law, with divorce rates spiking, same-sex couples marrying and divorcing, and an increasing number of do-it-yourself divorcers.  Divorce is an area of law that is highly susceptible to changing cultural norms.  It is also influenced significantly by evolving technology.  Some divorce trends that emerged in the past century appear here to stay, while others may fade away.  Even further, new movements are developing that were previously unheard of.

As the New Year approaches, we have prepared the following segment on the future of divorce law.  This two part blog series sets out our predictions for the future of divorce in America.  Take a look at what trends we expect to continue and what new alterations could occur in the field of divorce law:

  1. The Internet and Social Media Will Continue to Impact Divorces—the past few years saw a sharp rise in the use of social networking websites.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram have all become a part of most people’s daily routine, dictating their interactions with others.  While these websites can be fun and help individuals keep in touch, their impact on divorce has been palpable.  The internet tends to provide individuals with a sense of privacy, allowing for careless abandon when it comes to posting material best kept hidden.  Social media sites have lead to the break-up of many couples, and have also become an important tool during a divorce.  In most states, activity on social media and other networking sites can be subpoenaed and admitted in court.  Pictures of spouses intimately posing with others can be costly in a custody battle, and references to job bonuses may lead to questions concerning the credibility of your financial affidavit.  One thing is clear—the popularity of social media websites appears cemented amongst the American public.  It is likely the internet will continue to lead to marriages ending and thrive as a source for evidence against couples going through divorce.
  2. Same-Sex Marriage and Divorce Rates Will Climb—the number of states legalizing same-sex marriage is growing by the month.  Currently, 15 states plus the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples.  Further, Oregon recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states although it has yet to legalize the institution.  With the Supreme Court’s recent decision abolishing the Defense of Marriage Act and calling for federal recognition of same-sex marriages, the momentum is behind gay marriage.  It appears likely more and more states will pass legislation allowing for same-sex marriage.  As the number of same-sex marriages increases, the rate of divorce in this subgroup will also rise.  In turn, a mounting number of states will grapple with the issue of same-sex divorce.  While Mississippi has recently declined to grant a same-sex divorce in the case of Lauren Beth Czekala-Chatham, this will not be the end of the issue.
  3. Permanent Alimony Will Officially Become Extinct—in the last century, as societal norms have changed and women increasingly work outside the home throughout the duration of their marriage, permanent alimony has become a thing of the past.  Many states, like Mississippi, severely limit awards of permanent alimony, confining it to situations in which the marriage exceeded ten years and a great disparity of income existed.  A few states will award permanent alimony, but, absent another alternation in family norms, it seems like permanent alimony will be obsolete in the next few years.

Matthew S. Poole is a seasoned Mississippi divorce attorney who prides himself on compassionate, intelligent representation.  Matthew will accommodate all of your family law needs, so call him today at (601) 573-7429 to schedule a free initial consultation.