Nevada’s divorce rate exceeds national average

Nevadans are more likely to say "I Do" and then "I Don’t" than most other Americans, and their time together in between tends to be brief, according to census data on marriage released Thursday.

Nevada’s marriage and divorce rates exceeded the national average in 2009, according to an analysis of relationships for people 15 and older. Nevadans also tended to be married for fewer years than the national median of 20.8 years.

The statistics do not reflect Nevada’s reputation as a wedding and divorce destination because the data represents where people were living at the time of the survey, not where the marriage or divorce took place. The numbers suggest Nevadans are somewhat flippant about matrimony, family counselors and divorce lawyers said.

"It may just be the culture of Las Vegas that has people getting married quickly and not thinking about the probability of long-term success," said Stephen Fife, a marriage counselor in Southern Nevada. "They are not taking divorce seriously, either."

There were 23.2 weddings performed for every 1,000 men in Nevada in 2009, the 10th highest rate in the nation. The national average was 19.1. Wyoming had the highest marriage rate for men at 30.7, and Maine had the lowest rate at 13.5.

In 2009, women were less likely to get married in Nevada than men. There were 22.4 marriages for every 1,000 women in Nevada that year, compared with the national rate of 17.6. Nevada shared the seventh highest ranking with Oklahoma. Wyoming had the highest rate at 28.7, and New Jersey had the lowest rate at 13.3.

Census researchers said that men nationwide remarry more than women do, so men’s marriage rates were higher than women’s rates.

Katherine Hertlein, a licensed marriage and family therapist with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said Nevada’s large migratory population migth first push couples together and then pull them apart. Men and women without family or close friends nearby might pursue marriage to feel less alone, she said. But once the marriage is tested, the couples could turn to divorce because they don’t have loved ones encouraging them to stick it out, Hertlein said.

"It’s pretty much just you and your partner, and when that starts to become difficult there really isn’t a community to turn to," she said.

The divorce rate for men in Nevada was 12.3 compared with the national average of 9.2 per every 1,000 men. That’s the seventh highest rate in the nation.

The divorce rate for women in Nevada also was 12.3, which is higher than the national rate of 9.7. It was the sixth highest rate in the nation.

Arkansas topped the nation in male divorce rates at 13.5, while Alaska led the nation in female divorce rates at 16.2. New Jersey had the lowest divorce rates for men and women.

Most higher than average divorce rates for both genders occurred in low-wage Southern states.

The census analysis is based on 2009 data from the American Community Survey, which samples 3 million households.

Divorce lawyers in Nevada expressed surprise that the state, with its no-fault divorce process, didn’t rank higher nationally. Uncontested divorces sought in Nevada can be finalized within 10 days in some cases.

"It’s very easy. We don’t have any waiting periods at all," said John Kelleher, who has practiced family law in Las Vegas with his wife since 1996.

Nevada, with its legalized brothels and 24-hour casinos and bars, can test marriages, he said.

"Right on top of the list I would put infidelity," he said of the reasons why his clients seek divorces. "And No. 2 — I would put these in a cluster — alcohol or gambling or drug abuse."

Cash woes and cheating are common divorce triggers, and Nevada’s culture of fast spending and sexual opportunities might contribute to its high divorce rate, Fife said.

"I don’t think the town is very marriage-friendly," he said.

It’s unclear whether Nevada’s stalled economy contributed to the marriage and divorce rates. The state tops the nation in unemployment and foreclosures.

Limited incomes have persuaded couples who would otherwise file for divorce to stay married, Kelleher said. It’s easier for cash-starved adults to pay their bills when they combine their resources, he said.

"I’ve turned people away," he said. "I’ve told them, ‘Look, you just can’t afford to be divorced.’ "

But Kimberly Surratt, a divorce lawyer in Reno, said money concerns won’t keep an unhappy couple under the same roof for long.

"They blame each other, not the economy. They are angry and they are also at the point of looking at it as, ‘What else do I have to lose? Might as well get divorced.’ "

She added, "If you want away from somebody bad enough, you are going to find a way."

News Videos
Henderson fails to investigate the drug overdose death of one of its officers
Henderson Police Department's internal affairs did not investigate the 2014 drug overdose death of an officer. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Syphilis Awareness Day
Dr. Joe Iser, District Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District, discusses the effects and issues with syphilis in the Las Vegas community on April 16, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas diocese IDs 33 ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse
The Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas released a list on Friday of 33 “credibly accused” of sexual abuse who at some point served in the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CCSD Arbor View meeting
The Clark County School Board hears from the public about racial tensions at Arbor View High School on Thursday, April 11, 2019. (Amelia Park-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Parents of autistic student battle Clark County School District
Joshua and Britten Wahrer, parents of a special education student, are battling the Clark County School District for the right to equip their son with a monitoring device. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Metro homeless outreach a shift in strategy
Lt. Joe Sobrio discusses the new homeless outreach team for Metro. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prayer for Opportunity Scholarships
Las Vegas students and adults hold a prayer meeting about the Opportunity Scholarship program on Thursday, April 4, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Solar scams on the rise in Nevada
As Nevada’s solar industry has made a resurgence, solar scammers have followed suit.
Clark County schools and the late bus issue
Year after year, late or no-show buses in the Clark County School District draw the ire of parents and students alike. One year the problem even prompted a parent to crack a school bus window in frustration over a late drop-off. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
I-15 southbound congested near Primm Sunday afternoon
Drivers heading toward California on Interstate 15 should expect heavy traffic and a 13-mile backup Sunday afternoon.
Learning lifesaving skills in advance of fire season
Students and firefighters attend a training session at Fire Station 80 in Blue Diamond, Saturday, March 30, 2019. The training session helps volunteer firefighters obtain necessary annual certification to work wild fires.
Car restoration behind prison walls
Inmates share their experiences working for the Southern Desert Correctional Center auto body shop in Indian Springs while learning valuable skills.
Parent remembers Las Vegas boy killed by car
People visit a memorial at the intersection of South Fort Apache Road and West Arby Avenue at at Faiss Park Wednesday, March 27, 2019, where Jonathan Smith, 12, of Las Vegas, died after he was struck while crossing Fort Apache Monday. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Couple left with surprise medical bills after visit to the hospital
Michael Pistiner took his wife, Marta Menendez-Pistiner, to the ER in January after she fainted twice and appeared to be having a seizure. Despite paying $856 monthly for health insurance, the two, self-employed musicians, were stuck with more than $5,700 in hospital and doctor bills after than hour-and-a-half visit. Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Las Vegas police brief the media on fatal crash
Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Nick Farese addresses the media about a car accident at South Fort Apache Road and West Arby Avenue that left one minor dead and one hospitalized on Monday, March 25, 2019. (Mike Shoro/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Arbor View parent talks about racial issues at the school
Lawanna Calhoun, a former Arbor View parent, talks about the state of the school. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jim Foley talks about 30 years of living HIV-positive
Jim Foley, who was diagnosed as HIV positive 30 years ago, talks at his home in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Traffic Slows to a Crawl on I-15S Near Primm
Traffic slowed to a crawl around 2:30p Sunday, on I-15S near Primm, Nevada.
Homeless residents speak about safety
The homeless residents living at the corner of Owens Ave. and Main St. reflect on how they feel about their safety after two homeless men died, one was hit crossing the street and another was beat to death by another homeless man. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
CCSD Superintendent address alleged racially motivated threats at Arbor View
CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara gives update on alleged racially motivated threats against Arbor View High School, and says such threats will not be tolerated. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Super Bloom Near Lake Elsinore, California
Crowds packed the hills near Lake Elsinore on Saturday to capture a rare selfie amidst the super bloom of poppies turning the landscape purple. The super bloom was caused by the larger rainfall this year. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fiery accident in Las Vegas
A three-car accident on Spring Mountain Road around 6:30 pm on Monday night
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Stardust implosion anniversary
Twelve years ago today, the Stardust Resort and Casino was imploded. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Lawsuits filed against security contractors at Nevada National Security Site
Two lawsuits were filed today against the current and former government security contractors for the Nevada National Security Site, one on behalf of Jennifer Glover who alleges sexual discrimination and assault and the other on behalf of Gus Redding who alleges retaliation after he gave statements supporting Glover’s claims. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New housing option helps Las Vegas moms keep kids while kicking drugs
WestCare Nevada Women and Children’s Campus in Las Vegas has added a new transitional housing wing for women who have completed the inpatient treatment at the behavioral health nonprofit to help them as they go through outpatient treatment, shore up their finances and prepare to secure long-term housing. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Teenager in critical condition after being struck by an SUV in Henderson
Authorities were called about 2:45 p.m. to the scene in the 2100 block of Olympic Avenue, near Green Valley Parkway and Sunset Road. The teenager was taken to University Medical Center in critical condition. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Water Question Part 3: Conservation loves a crisis
Future growth in the Las Vegas Valley will rest almost entirely on the community’s ability to conserve its finite share of the Colorado River.
The Water Question Part 7: How much can we grow?
Many experts agree that Southern Nevada can continue to grow, so long as residents are willing to do what needs to be done to stretch our crucial resource as far as it will go.
The Water Question Part 6: How many people can Southern Nevada’s water sustain?
The number can swing wildly depending on a host of variables, including the community’s rates of growth, conservation efforts and the severity of drought on the Colorado River.
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing