Table 1: U.S. STATE DIVORCE RATES, RANKINGS, WAITING PERIODS, AND RECONCILIATION COUNSELING LAWS [including 2004 data]

Results of 2004 rate comparison:
1. Long waiting periods such as two years, or 18 months with a substantial reduction for cases of mutual consent, still correlate strongly with lower divorce rates.
2. The one state with a long (18-month) waiting period but no reduction for mutual consent, Arkansas, still has one of the highest divorce rates.
3. The slight correlation between having any waiting period and lower divorce rates, observed in the 2001 numbers, is no longer present.
4. Unenforced optional counseling laws still do not correlate with divorce rates.



State


Rank

(2004)


Divorce Rate per 1000 in 2004


Rank (2001)


Divorce Rate per 1000 in 2001


Effective Waiting Period for No-Fault Divorce


Reconciliation Counseling Laws (All Optional)


District of Columbia

1

1.7



1


2.3


6 months


No


Massachusetts

2

2.2



2


2.4


7 months, 1 month with consent


Yes


Pennsylvania

3

2.5



8


3.2


2 years; 3 months with consent


Yes


Illinois

4

2.6



8


3.2


2 years; 6 months with consent


No


Minnesota

5

2.8



13


3.3


None


No


Iowa

5

2.8



8


3.2


3 months


No


North Dakota

5

2.8



4


2.7


None


No


Connecticut

8

2.9



5


2.9


None


Yes


New Jersey

9

3.0



17


3.5


18 months; 6 months with consent


No


Rhode Island

9

3.0



13


3.3


None


No


New York

9

3.0



6


3.0


1 year


No


Wisconsin

12

3.1



8


3.2


None


Yes


Maryland

12

3.1



6


3.0


2 years; 1 year with consent


No


South Carolina

14

3.2



17


3.5


1 year


Yes


South Dakota

14

3.2



15


3.4


None


Yes


Kansas

16

3.3



8


3.2


None


Yes


Michigan

17

3.5



19


3.9


None


No


Texas

18

3.6



27


4.1


None


Yes


Maine

18

3.6



19


3.9


None


No


Nebraska

18

3.6



19


3.7


None


Yes


Delaware

21

3.7



24


4.0


None


Yes


Ohio

21

3.7



24


4.0


1 year; None with consent


No


United States

mean/median

3.7



mean / median


4.0
   


Missouri

23

3.8



30


4.3


6 months


Yes


Montana

23

3.8



3


2.6


6 months


Yes


New Hampshire

25

3.9



36


5.0


None


Yes


Utah

25

3.9



32


4.4


3 months; may be waived with consent or divorce education


Yes


Vermont

25

3.9



24


4.0


6 months


Yes


Virginia

28

4.0



30


4.3


1 year; 6 months with no children and full agreement


No


Oregon

29

4.1



35


4.9


None


Yes


Washington

29

4.1



33


4.5


3 months


Yes


Arizona

31

4.2



29


4.2


None except in covenant marriages


No


Colorado

32

4.4



N/A [32 in '94]


N/A [5.1 in '94]


None


Yes


North Carolina

32

4.4



33


4.5


1 year


Yes


Mississippi

34

4.5



41


5.4


None


No


New Mexico

35

4.6



37


5.1


None


No


Alabama

36

4.7



40


5.3


1 month


No


West Virginia

36

4.7



38


5.2


1 year; 0 with consent


No


Florida

38

4.8



41


5.4


None


Yes


Alaska

38

4.8



27


4.1


None


No


Kentucky

40

4.9



43


5.5


None


Yes


Tennessee

41

5.0



38


5.2


None


Yes


Idaho

42

5.1



44


5.6


None


No


Wyoming

43

5.3



45


6.1


None


No


Arkansas

44

6.3



46


6.6


18 months


No


Nevada

45

6.4



47


6.8


None


No


Indiana

N/A

N/A



N/A [46 in '87]


N/A [6.4 in '87]


None


Yes


California

N/A

N/A



N/A [21 in '87]


N/A [4.3 in '87]


6 months


Yes


Louisiana

N/A

N/A



N/A [10 in '83]


N/A [3.6 in '83]


6 months; 2 years in covenant marriages


No


Georgia

N/A

N/A



19


3.8


None


No


Hawaii

N/A

N/A



19


3.8


None


Yes


Oklahoma

N/A

N/A



15


3.4


None


No