For decades, you heard the mantra that “one out of every two marriages ends in divorce,” but that’s no longer true. Divorce has been steadily declining in recent years, except among older couples. Now, the odds of a divorce are down to about 39%.

Why the change?

A lot has to do with the cultural shift brought on by the Millennial generation. They are waiting longer to get married and staying married more often than generations past. They are not as quick to jump into marriage after beginning a new relationship. They also do not wed until they are financially secure. Both halves of the couple usually have their own careers and interests, which may increase their overall satisfaction in life. Plus, the financial security and economic parity between spouses helps them avoid money-centered conflicts later.

What else is changing?

While divorces may be down, the number of prenuptial agreements has steadily increased.  Prenuptial agreements provide many advantages for people who have waited longer to get married and have obtained financial security.  Prenuptial agreements can help spell-out the financial expectations of each person in the marriage and informs each person in greater detail of the other’s approach to finances.  These agreements, if done correctly, can alleviate future financial disputes so that the parties can focus on other important parts of their marriage:  each other and any children that they may have.

But what if you want to get divorced?

In Wisconsin, you can expect the average cost of a divorce without children to be around $11,300. A divorce with minor children averages $16,900. Both figures are well below the national high ($17,500 and $26,300, respectively). Those figures can be influenced, of course, by a lot of different factors. You and your spouse can lower them significantly just by doing your best to work together for a fair split.

Even though marital splits are less common than they once were, you may take comfort in knowing that one out of every 10 of your fellow Wisconsinites is also divorced. Every marriage is unique — and so is every divorce. Before you make any firm decisions about your next step, it would be wise to learn what you can expect and what legal challenges you may face during the process.