The National Marriage Project, located at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, provide sresearch and analysis on the state of marriage in America and educates the public on the social, economic and cultural conditions affecting marital success and child wellbeing. The Project has released its "Top Ten Myths of Divorce". These myths are summarized below, but the article itself contains much more detail, including cites to studies supporting its conclusions.
Myth #1: Second marriages tend to be more successful than first marriages.
Fact: The divorce rate of remarriages is in fact higher than that of first marriages.
Myth #2: Living together before marriage reduces the chances of eventually divorcing.
Fact: Those who live together before marriage have a considerably higher chance of eventually divorcing.
Myth #3: Divorce may cause problems for many of the children, but those problems are not long lasting and the children recover relatively quickly.
Fact: Divorce increases the risk of interpersonal problems in children, and there is evidence that many of these problems are long lasting and may become worse in adulthood.
Myth #4: Having a child together will help a couple to improve their marital satisfaction and prevent a divorce.
Fact: Couples who have a child together have a slightly decreased risk of divorce compared to couples without children, but the decreased risk is far less than it used to be when parents with marital problems were more likely to stay together “for the sake of the children.”
Myth #5: Following divorce, the woman’s standard of living plummets by seventy three percent while that of the man’s improves by forty two percent.
Fact: The woman’s loss is actually twenty seven percent, while the man’s gain was ten percent.
Myth #6: When parents don’t get along, children are better off if their parents divorce than if they stay together.
Fact: Parents’ marital unhappiness and discord have a broad negative impact on virtually every dimension of their children’s well-being, but so does going through a divorce. Except in high-conflict marriages, it is better for the children if their parents stay together and work out their problems than if they divorce.
Myth #7: Children who grow up in a home broken by divorce tend to have as much success in their own marriages as those from intact homes.
Fact: Marriages of the children of divorce actually have a much higher rate of divorce than the marriages of children from intact families.
Myth #8: Following divorce, the children involved are better off in step-families than in single-parent families.
Fact: Step-families tend to have their own set of problems, and they are no improvement over single-parent families, even though typically income levels are higher and there is a father figure in the home.
Myth #9: Being very unhappy at certain points in a marriage is a good sign that the marriage will eventually end in divorce.
Fact: All marriages have their ups and downs.
Myth #10: It is usually men who initiate divorce proceedings
Fact: Two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women.
Source: "The Top Ten Myths of Divorce" by David Popenoe, published by The National Marriage Project. Thanks to Al Nye of the Maine Divorce Law Blog for finding this article and to Ben Stevens at the South Carolina Family Law Blog for bringing this post to my attention.