Hayes, Williams, Turner & Daughtry, P.A.

North Carolinians are seeking fewer marriages and divorces

Are marriage and divorce both going out of style? The marriage and divorce rates all over the nation are on the decline, including in North Carolina.

Over the decade between 2008 and 2018, marriage rates among women dropped from 18.5 per 1,000 to 15.7. The divorce rates in the state, while still slightly higher than the national average, also declined. In 2008, 10.1 couples out of 1,000 could expect to divorce. Now, that figure is down to 8.6 out of 1,000.

Just the same, neither marriage nor divorce seems to be dying out, although social attitudes toward both are definitely changing. The stigma against divorce died off almost completely before the stigma of being unmarried started to take a hit. Now, it seems like people would rather wait on marriage and make sure they're with the right person than take a leap of faith and end up divorced. That accounts for the lower figures on both.

So, what can you do to protect yourself if you're a happily unmarried couple? You may want to consider a prenuptial agreement before you do formally co-join your lives. That will protect your individual assets and lay the ground rules if you later split. If you decide that you're just as content remaining unmarried, you may want to consider talking to an attorney about a cohabitation agreement that will protect both of you in the future in a similar way. An attorney can also help you both evaluate your estate plans to make sure that you have the provisions you want for each other.

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