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(Black Enterprise) — America’s No. 1. Unfortunately, it’s for a troubling trend. According to statistics, the U.S. has the highest divorce rate, with 45-50% of first marriages ending in dissolution. The numbers only get worse for those who choose to exchange vows multiple times, with a 60-67% failure rate for second marriages and a 70-73% failure rate for third marriages. With the average divorce proceedings in the U.S. lasting about a year and lawyer’s fees ranging anywhere from $250 to $500 (if not higher) an hour, getting a divorce can be quite a costly process. More times than not, the hardest financial blow hits men, who, in the event the couple has kids, rarely get custody and—traditionally earning more than women—have to pay alimony, hence the old saying, “It’s cheaper to keep her.”

“About 84% of all alimony and/or child support awards go to the wife,” says Palanda A. Brownlow, Esq., a California-based lawyer who specializes in child and family issues. “Unsurprisingly, it’s generally the woman who drops out of the workforce to give birth, raise the children, and maintain the household. And a woman should never be penalized for making that decision simply because the marriage dissolves at some point.”

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