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Missouri marriage rate decreasing as divorce rate remains high

The process of divorce can be a trying one for all parties involved. Worries about breaking the news to friends and family, division of assets and child custody disputes all come to light. All of these factors highlight the commitments of a marriage, especially when children are involved. Nevertheless, every relationship has its ups and downs, and this is no less true in Missouri, where divorce rates are still higher than they were 50 years ago despite a recent decline in the number of marriages per year.

For some, marriage is an irrevocable commitment, no matter what. One couple, interviewed by the Southeast Missourian, have stated that, despite the occasional problems arising during their marriage of more than 60 years, divorce was never something they considered. Another couple, six years into their marriage and with two children, agreed when they wed that filing for divorce was not going to be an option for them.This is not the case for all couples, however, and nor should it be. Couples should feel free to end bad marriages if they feel the need to do so. 

Interestingly, although there has been a slight drop in the number of divorces in Missouri in recent years, the decrease in marriages has been far more significant. In 2013, Cape Girardeau County saw only 581 marriage licenses filed, compared with 653 in 2011. Many couples believe that they can avoid legal disputes by simply choosing not to wed in the first place. If the couple has children together, though, that will probably not be the case.

Although choosing not to marry can alleviate fears of divorce disputes, couples that have children will still require a custody agreement, and they may have to go to court to do so. Both divorce and separation are just as difficult for children as it is for their parents, and reaching sensible decisions about visitation rights and the legal and physical custody of the children is essential. Residents of Missouri should take the time to become aware of their rights as a parent, and be prepared to make the best arrangements possible for their children's well-being in the event of a divorce.

Source: Southeast Missourian, "Decline in matrimony: Rate of marriages falls in region," Amity Shedd, Feb. 9, 2014

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