13.3% of Springfield adults are divorced, higher than U.S. Average; according to study

Irina Baranova

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Divorce rates are also climbing across the country and in the Springfield area.

A new study found the number of divorced couples in Springfield is higher than the national average.

Data found for Springfield, Mo:

  • Percentage of adults currently divorced: 13.3%
  • Percentage of adults currently separated: 1.9%
  • Percentage of adults currently married: 38.5%
  • Percentage of adults never married: 39.4%

Data found for the entire United States:

  • Percentage of adults currently divorced: 10.8%
  • Percentage of adults currently separated: 1.8%
  • Percentage of adults currently married: 48.1%
  • Percentage of adults never married: 33.5%

Springfield Psychologist Dr. Jennifer Baker says when people get married could play a role.

”This is a conservative part of the country, and so people tend to get married earlier,” Dr. Baker says. “Sometimes, when we marry early, we don’t always make the best decisions.”

Dr. Baker says although the pandemic may not fuel this, increasing divorce rates could result from people making life changes.

“They rethought their employment, where they wanted to work, what they wanted to do, so it stands to reason that they would also rethink some of those things,” Dr. Baker says. “Also, they may have been thinking about this two years ago but put it off because we were in the midst of a pandemic, but now, as things begin to return to normal, they just follow through on something they were thinking about doing two years ago.”

Springfield attorney Doug Fredrick says he’s seen an influx of family law cases in his office.

“The sheer volume of clients needing family law services has been a topic of discussion amongst all the family law lawyers in the Southwest Missouri area,” Fredrick says. “It’s really been amazing just the crushing numbers of people who are calling who need either a divorce or a custody case or modification or a child support case or a paternity issue, and it’s really overwhelming everybody.”

Fredrick has been a lawyer in the area for the last two decades.

He says Greene County used to have only two family court commissioners. Fredrick says now there are four.

“The timeline to get a trial setting is about a year to year and a half away, so with twice the number of commissioners, we still have about the same timeline if not a bit worse than it was when we only had two commissioners,” Fredrick says.

However, it’s not just happening in Greene County.

Fredrick says he’s also seeing more couples file for divorce in Christian County, Webster County, and other parts of Southwest Missouri.

Fredrick says there aren’t enough family law attorneys in the area to handle the volume of cases.

“It can be horrendously expensive,” Fredrick says. “It can be horrendously stressful.”

Dr. Baker says if you’re in a serious relationship with someone and thinking about marriage, the best ways to set the relationship up for success are to have good communication skills, solve conflicts and have similar expectations for what your future together looks like.

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