When you think about divorce rates, marriage rates and child custody situations in the United States, it’s important not to assume that the same numbers apply to everyone evenly. There is, as it turns out, a big difference in how things play out, depending on where people live.
For instance, the marriage rates are lowest in urban areas, where 44% of people are married. In suburban communities, it’s much higher, at 50%. In rural communities and small towns, it ticks up another notch to 51%.
As you may expect, this also relates to how many children live with two married parents. In rural communities, that’s true for 68% of children. It’s actually higher in suburban areas, where people may have a bit more wealth and stability, clocking in at 71%. The lowest percentage is found in urban areas, at just 66%.
What these numbers show you is that custody issues may be most common in cities and other urban centers. That does not necessarily mean that divorce rates are always to blame. More and more couples live together and have children without ever getting married. But it just means that, with lower marriage rates and a lower percentage of children who share a home with married parents, urban children may face more complex living situations and custody arrangements.
No matter where you live, if you have children with someone who is not your spouse, either because of divorce or because you never got married to begin with, it is very important to make sure that you understand all of the legal rights that you have.