Kumasi Aaron
5NEWS Reporter

On August 25, 2011, Ms. Aaron interviewed our own William D. Oldham on the subject of rising divorcee rates in Arkansas.

10:35 p.m. CDT, August 25, 2011

The news story has been taken down from www.5newsonline.com, but we have preserved the transcript in full:

“If you live in the south, the U.S. Census Bureau says your marriage may be more likely to end in divorce. A new report shows the divorce rate in southern states is higher than the national average.

The U.S. Census Bureau says in 2009, more couples divorced in the south than anywhere else in the country. For every 1,000 men in the south, 10.2 were divorced, while the national average was just 9.2.

And with women the numbers were even higher. There were 11.1 divorced women compared to 9.7 nationally. The northeast had the lowest divorce rates with 7.2 per 1,000 men, and 7.5 per 1,000 women.

Bill Oldham, executive director of Northwest Counseling in Bentonville has advised married couples in the northeast and the south.

“I do have experience in another state in the east,” Oldham says. “And it seemed like just anecdotally that the rates for divorce were higher here and marriage problems in general.”

The Census Bureau says divorce rates tend to be higher in the south because marriage rates are higher. Oldham says he’s also noticed other differences here in Arkansas.

“Especially infidelity seemed to be higher incidence here in Arkansas than they were back east,” Oldham says.

The U.S. Census Bureau cites another reason the Northeast has lower divorce rates. They say first marriages tend to be delayed.

Rogers attorney Andrew Hatfield says he sees quite a few clients come in who say they just married too soon.

“I see a lot of young people coming in that are getting divorces basically because they got married too early,” Hatfield says. “And they really weren’t mature enough to handle the situation.”

Hatfield says with the economy like it is, money is a big factor.

“They’ll come in and they’ll say that finances have caused the marriage to crumble just because it’s putting so much stress on everyone that they can’t get along,” Hatfield says.

The Census Bureau also found women who divorced in 2009 were more likely than recently divorced men to be in poverty.”