South Dakota sees decrease in marriage and divorce numbers

SOUTH DAKOTA (Dakota News Now) - According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of divorces in South Dakota are down as well as the number of people getting married.

Dorris O’Dea joined the Divorce, Widowed and Separated Support Group in the late 1970’s after she went through a divorce.

She then joined as the group coordinator for over 25 years, acknowledging that there is a process after a divorce.

O’Dea said, “You have to be aware that this is a process and you have to work through it, and I think widows come and they’re just a lot sadder and the divorce come and they’re a lot madder.”

After being involved for a while, O’Dea decided to write a book called, “Let’s Talk About Grief.”

“It was more of a help tool, it wasn’t anything profound.” O’Dea continued, “It didn’t have a lot of statistics and case studies because that’s not what I know. I just finally decided I’ll just write what I know.”

O’Dea’s book focuses on the emotional aspects of a divorce, but there are hard statistics about separation in the state of South Dakota.

In 2018, nearly 2,300 people got a divorce.

Statistics show that the number of people getting married are down, and a possible factor in this decrease, could be the internet.

Licensed Professional Counselor, Maggie Blaylock said, “People can date online, so there’s this idea that I don’t have to find someone right now I can take my time.”

Maggie Blaylock does Marriage Counseling and says connection is key in a relationship.

“Are we connecting daily emotionally more than just, how are you? How is your day? It’s ‘tell me something good about your day,’ it’s connecting throughout the day, a text to say I’m thinking about you,” Blaylock said.

According to the South Dakota Department of Health, out of the 2,265 divorces in 2018, 98% of them were caused by irreconcilable differences.