UNITED STATES—Although many newlyweds believe their unions may last a lifetime, divorce is always a possibility. Research studies have shown that even though 90 percent of Americans marry by or before 50 years, 50 percent of these marriages end in divorce. These statistics make the US the nation with the sixth-highest divorce rate globally. For those that enter subsequent marriages after their first divorce, the rates increase to an estimated 60 percent for second marriages and 73 percent for third marriages.

Even though divorce is common among married adults in the US, the rates vary between each state. Here’s a comprehensive comparison of California and Florida divorce rates.

California Divorce Rates

In 2012, when the national divorce rate average was 50 percent, California had the highest rate at 60 percent. However, there may have been an explanation for these statistics. California’s divorce law was established in 1851, and between 1848 and 1855, the state reportedly had the highest divorce rate in the world. Currently, though, there are no state-provided California divorce statistics since the state authorities don’t report the divorce rates to the federal government for use in National Center for Health Statistics studies.

However, according to a World Population Review report dated 2022, California had the least divorce rate nationwide at 9.30 percent. The US Census Bureau also provides a detailed breakdown of the number of divorces by gender recorded in California between 2010 and 2017. It’s as follows:

  • 2010: Men – 105,352 | Women – 129,370 | Total – 234,722
  • 2011: Men – 115,216 | Women – 124,512 | Total – 239,728
  • 2012: Men – 117,791 | Women – 121,956 | Total – 233,747
  • 2013: Men – 109,549 | Women – 127,033 | Total – 236,582
  • 2014: Men – 102,669 | Women – 113,803 | Total – 216,472
  • 2015: Men – 94,509 | Women – 111,013 | Total – 205,522
  • 2016: Men – 102,730 | Women – 116,989 | Total – 219,719
  • 2017: Men – 97,315 | Women – 112,111 | Total – 209,426

Despite a minor spike in 2016, the above numbers show a decrease in divorce rates in California over the years. However, without recent statistics past 2018, it’s hard to determine divorce rates in the state. Below are some more statistics on California divorce rates:

  • There are over 1.193 million and 1.697 million divorced men and women residing in California.
  • There are over 212,000 and 414,000 separated men and women living in California.
  • If both spouses in a marriage are alcoholics and living in California, their marriage is three times more likely to end in divorce.
  • The top 10 cities in California with the highest divorce rates include Pasadena, Napa, Santa Barbara, and Santa Monica, as well as Oakland, Sacramento, Newport Beach, El Cajon, San Mateo, and Livermore.

Florida Divorce Rates

The World Population Review ranks Florida amongst the top 10 states with the highest divorce numbers at 13 percent, which translates to 3.6 divorces per 1,000 marriages. However, more recent studies have noted a decrease in the number of marriages ending in divorce in Florida over the past ten years. According to researchers, many married couples in Florida end up filing for divorce due to infidelity, communication problems, and disagreements about finances.

The divorce rate in Florida over the past decade was 4.8 per every 1,000 marriages, which was minutely higher than the national average of 4.6 divorces in every 1,000 married couples. Sixty-four percent of couples divorced in Florida within ten years had been together for five to nine years. However, the average duration for unions split within this period was eight years. The divorce rate for couples that were together for over ten years was lower than that of shorter-term marriages at 3.2 per 1,000 marriages.

Despite the decrease in divorce rates statewide over the last decade, there’s been a surge in divorces between couples aged above 50. Although Florida’s among the top wedding destinations in the US, it’s also among the states with the highest divorce rates, ranking at number three behind Nevada and Arkansas. Divorces can happen for many reasons. However, Florida has a notably high divorce rate because of the state’s no-fault divorce law.

The law allows couples to split without proving if one partner is responsible for the separation. Below are some more reasons that could help explain the high divorce rates in Florida.

  • It’s hard to deny the impact stress can have on a marriage. According to various stress-related studies, on a scale of 1 to 25, Florida had a stress level ranking of 13. The studies also cited high crime rates and financial insecurity as factors responsible for the high-stress levels.
  • Florida’s high immigration population is also a factor contributing to the high divorce rates. Many immigrants start over their lives with limited networking opportunities, social support, and financial resources, which can increase stress levels, leading to increased chances of marital discord.
  • One partner sensing a lack of commitment in the other is also a common cause of divorces in Florida. According to a married dating website, Florida cities have the highest number of cheaters in the US, with Orlando leading the rankings.
  • Domestic violence, which is a major issue in Florida, is also mentioned as among the reasons why the state’s divorce rates are so high. In 2019 alone, there were over 100,000 domestic violence cases reported, with 60 percent of them leading to arrests. There are countless more cases reported regularly, many of which end in divorce.
  • Besides that, the Sunshine State has an expansive retirement community. Due to advancements in medical and related fields, retirees and seniors are living longer than before, allowing them to consider their marriages. If their partners don’t satisfy their needs and wants efficiently, they may be willing to break the marriage to enjoy the rest of their active years alone or with another partner.

Comparing Divorces in Florida and California

Firstly, in both California and Florida, the partner filing for a divorce should have lived within the state within the last six months before submitting their application. Also, both states have no-fault divorce laws, meaning that the only requirements for filing for divorce are meeting the residential qualifications and proving that the marriage is broken irreparably. If there’s child support to be paid out, both states use an income shares model to determine the amount payable. Additionally, fixed-term alimony payments are preferred over permanent disbursements. Below are some more interesting aspects of the divorce laws in California and Florida.

  • In matters regarding child custody, both Florida and California courts award custody based on the child’s preferences. However, in California, the courts often grant sole custody to one parent if the other has a history of drug abuse or domestic violence.
  • When it comes to the division of marital property, Florida requires assets to be divided equally, meaning that valuables acquired before the marriage and gifts exchanged during the union won’t count as marital property. On the other hand, California is a community property state, meaning the courts will split your assets and debts in half and award it to your spouse.
  • The average cost of filing for a divorce in Florida is approximately 409 dollars, while filing for a divorce in California typically costs 395 dollars.