Minnesota State Bar Association is pleased to recognize Angela Lallemont as a North Star Lawyer. In 2022, 685 North Star Lawyers provided more than 70,000 hours of pro bono service to people of low income at no fee, for a total value of $17 million in free legal help.
Angela makes pro bono work an important part of her practice.
In 2020, the pandemic hit. On social media, I was inundated with friends posting pictures of their freshly baked bread, Netflix marathons, books they were reading, or tales of home schooling. I did something totally different.
As an attorney practicing mainly in family law, I have always been fascinated with marriage, divorce and family composition trends. I decided to use the pandemic as a chance to research some of the common popular beliefs about marriage and the trends from the 1980s until today. I looked at 2,742 divorce files from the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. Of the files, 553 were from the 1980s, 605 from the 1990s, 761 from 2000s and 534 from 2010s.
How did I do this? By randomly picking dates in each decade and looking at the family court calendar in various counties across Minnesota on that day. I would go into each case listed for the day and enter into a spreadsheet the names of the parties; their dates of birth; whether or not they had children; and the date of the divorce. Then I would go to the Minnesota Official Marriage System website(1) and find out the date of marriage. From this information, I created formulas in my spreadsheet to extrapolate the age of the parties when they got married, the length of marriage, and age of each party at divorce.
I want to preface this article with the disclaimer that results I am reporting are only as good as the data I collected. If the parties were not married in Minnesota, I could not find the date of marriage from publicly accessible records. Thus, there was no way to calculate the ages of the parties at marriage, the length of the marriage or their ages at divorce. These cases were omitted from the sample.
Secondly, the data is only as good as what was entered into the Minnesota online court records. If the court staff who entered in the birthdates of the parties did not accurately enter the date, my data could ultimately also be incorrect. Third, based on my research, it appears the court transferred its case records from paper files to computer files in the 1980s. It was incredibly difficult to find full files from the early 1980s. It probably took as long to get a comprehensive sample from the 1980s as it did for the other decades combined. Finally, I am not a statistician. I am a family law attorney. Therefore this won’t be an article containing statistical probabilities. It has been twenty years since I took my college statistics course and I need a refresher before engaging in any further analysis of the data
Truth or Fiction: The Seven-Year Itch
I decided to start with the most popular belief of the “seven-year itch.” The belief is that relationship satisfaction declines around the seventh year together. If this is true, I would expect most divorces to occur close to seven years after marriage. However, I do not know how long the couples were in a committed relationship prior to marriage. According to the belief, if a couple were in a committed relationship four years prior to marriage they would divorce in the third year of marriage. This skews the interpretation of the data because I had no way to account for the length of the premarital relationship.
For purposes of this article, I found out the average length of marriage before divorcing actually increased through the decades. In the 1980s, the average length of marriage prior to divorce was 9.6 years. This increased to 11.65 years in the 1990s, remained fairly consistent in the 2000s at 11.74 years and jumped to an average length of 13.46 years in the 2000s.
When I examined all decades together, 30.13 percent of the divorces occurred between five and nine years of marriage. This was followed by 22.05 percent of divorces occurring between one and five years of marriage. Further analysis showed that One Hundred Seventy Four (174) of the total divorces occurred in the seventh year of marriage or 6.3 percent. Is there a seven-year itch in Minnesota? Based on my research, the correlation between divorces around year 7 in Minnesota is negligible.
Are People Getting Married Later in Life?
The next popular notion I decided to look into is whether or not people are waiting to get married until later in life. For this, I examined the average age of the bride and groom at marriage by decade. Just because I was curious, I also looked at the youngest and oldest brides/grooms and divorceés. It appears that both males and females are waiting to get married until later in life. Since Minnesota did not legalize same sex marriage until August 1, 2013, insufficient data is available to determine whether or not the same trend exists for same sex couples. Consistent throughout the decades is that brides are generally younger than the grooms, an average of two (2) years.
In the 1980s, the average age of brides was 23 years of age. By the 2010s, the average age of a bride increased to 28 years old. The same held true for grooms. In the 1980s, the average age of a groom was 25.5 years old and by the 2010s, this increased to an average of almost 30 years of age.
I also wanted to examine the age of the youngest bride and groom from each decade and determine if the trend to wait later in life to get married applied to these outliers. Research demonstrated that the ages of the youngest bride and groom also follow the trend.
For instance, in the 1980s divorces, the youngest bride and youngest groom were both fourteen (14) years old (the parties got married in 1956). In the 1990s, our youngest bride and groom were 16.2 and 17.4 years old respectively. By the time Minnesota came into the millennium, our youngest bride and groom matured to 17 years old and 18 years old respectively.
Finally, in the 2010s, our youngest bride and groom were both adults, the youngest bride being 20.4 years old and the youngest groom being 20.5 years old.
Even though Minnesotans are getting married later in life, a majority of the marriages occur under age thirty. This remains consistent throughout the decades. The average percentages of those getting married in each age range is demonstrated in the chart.
Are People Divorcing Later in Life?
What about the divorceés? I suspected that since people were waiting until later in life to get married, the probability follows that people getting divorced would also be older. The data confirmed that the average age of people getting divorced also increased through the decades.
For instance, in the 1980s, the average age of a divorced female was 32.33 years old. By the 2010s, the average age of the female divorceé increased to 39.81 years old. In the 1980s, the average divorced male was 36 years old and by the 2010s, the average age of a male divorceé increased to 42.33 years old.
Finally, I wanted to see if the increase in the average life expectancy resulted in divorces later in life. According to research, (2) in 1960, the average American life expectancy at birth was 70.1 years. By 2015, the average American life expectancy at birth was 78.9 years of age.
So how did this transfer to divorces in Minnesota? The trend was fascinating. In the 1980s, the oldest female that got divorced was 68.2 years old. This increased to 72.9 years old the 90s. The millennium presented an anomaly, with a drop in the oldest female divorcee down to 63 years old. From 2010-2019, the oldest female to get a divorce in Minnesota was 83.4 years old.
Data for the oldest males followed a different trend. In the 80s, the oldest male getting divorced was 76 years old. In the 90s and 2000s the oldest male divorcee decreased to 68.4 and 63.9 years old respectively. From 2010-2019, the oldest male getting divorced was the ripe old age of 88.5 years old.
Who Files for Divorce More Often?
The next thing I wanted to see if whether or not the husband or wife files for divorce more often and the trend on co-petitioning spouses. Overwhelmingly the wife files for divorce more often than the husband and this was constant throughout the decades. Seventy percent of divorces in the 1980s were filed by the Wife. This decreased to sixty-two percent in the 2010s. Co-petitioning spouses increased from one percent in the 80s to 4.5 percent by the 2010s.
It also did not surprise me that more people filing for divorce had children than those without. About 74 percent of the divorces from the sample set in the 1980s were with children. This increased in the 90s and 2000s to 84 percent and 78 percent respectively. By the 2010s, there was a decrease in divorces with children to 67 percent.
The Older Husband…But How Much Older?
Earlier in this article, I mentioned that the average bride was two years younger than the groom. This got me thinking. What is the shortest, longest and average age gaps between spouses? Did this change over the years? The results were interesting, to say the least.
The shortest age gap between a husband and wife was 2 days in every decade but the 2000s, where there was one case of a husband and wife born on the same day. I suspected this was a data entry error in court administration, yet I could not find any other information online of different birth dates.
The longest age gap was in the 1980s, where the husband was 39.2 years older than his wife. The largest age gaps between a husband and wife in the other decades was less, with 23 years in the 1990s, 30 years in the 2000s, and 27 years in the 2010s.
Based on the sample data, most of the Minnesotans getting divorced are between two and five years apart. Forty-two percent of the sample set involved an age gap of two years or less between the two spouses. Almost 33 percent fall in the 2-5 year age gap and the remaining 27 percent are more than five years apart.
When do Most Minnesotans get Married?
My final data dive in this project was to determine what month of the year most Minnesotans get married. Folklore indicates that the “June bride” is popular in western culture for several reasons:
if a woman gave birth in June, she would be recovered in time for fall harvest;
in the Middle Ages, Europeans believed bathing increased the chance of disease so nobility bathed only a few times a year and pheasants bathed only one time per year, typically in the late spring (so people would smell better for their wedding)
Europeans were primarily Christian and weddings were prohibited during the Lenten season
bathing became more popular in the Eighteenth century and along with the Regency era came the flowered wreaths adorned the heads of Regency brides. Victorians used flowers to convey specific meanings and June provided the best selection of flowers.(3)
It surprised me that in Minnesota, the June bride tied with an August bride, with 13 percent of weddings occurring both months. September followed behind at 11.78 percent of weddings and a close fourth month was July with an average of 10.56 percent of the weddings occurring during this summer month.
Data showed other popular dates of New Year’s Eve; Valentine’s Day and Christmas Day as wedding dates. January is the least popular month to get married, followed by March.
I did not learn how to bake bread during the pandemic. I did not have any Netflix binges or spend time doing traditional mediation. However, this research provided an excellent distraction to the chaos of the pandemic. Whether or not you practice family law, the concept of family touches each of your lives in one way or another. I hope my pandemic project provides you with fodder for an interesting conversation at family holidays or a get together with friends.
(1) Minnesota Official Marriage System – MACO/MOMS® (https://www.moms.mn.gov) (2) Medina, Lauren D., Shannon Sabo, and Jonathan Vespa, “Living Longer: Historical and Projected Life Expectancy in the United States, 1960 to 2060,” P25-1145, Current Population Reports, P25-1145, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, 2020. (online) https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2020/demo/p25-1145.pdf (3) The Tradition of the June Bride, June 1, 2016 (online) (last accessed April 16, 2022) https://brombergs.com/the-tradition-of-the-june-bride/
Clients frequently ask me why they should go to mediation or other form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) instead of having the judge decide their case. Alternative Dispute Resolution can offer a range of benefits for clients. One of the main advantages of ADR is cost savings. Traditional litigation can be expensive, with court fees, attorney fees, and other costs adding up quickly. In contrast, ADR services are generally less costly, as they often involve less paperwork, fewer legal fees, and faster resolution times. This is particularly beneficial for individuals or businesses with limited financial resources.
Another key advantage of ADR is flexibility. In traditional litigation, parties have little control over the outcome, as it is ultimately determined by a judge (or jury). In ADR, however, parties have more control over the outcome and can work collaboratively to come up with a solution that works for everyone involved. This can be particularly beneficial in family law cases, where a more collaborative approach can help reduce stress and conflict for everyone involved. It is difficult to educate a judge about your family and children in the limited time available in court. No one will ever know your children better than you do.
In traditional litigation, parties are subject to strict court procedures and evidentiary rules, which may not be ideal for their particular situation. ADR, on the other hand, allows parties to choose a process that is best suited to their needs. For example, parties can choose to mediate their dispute or use an arbitrator to make a binding decision.
ADR services can also be more conducive to creative and innovative solutions. In traditional litigation, the outcome is often limited to what the law allows. ADR, however, allows parties to think outside the box and come up with solutions that may not be possible in a court of law. This can be particularly beneficial in business disputes, where parties may be able to come up with creative solutions that benefit both parties.
Lastly, ADR services can be less stressful and emotional than traditional litigation. Court proceedings can be intimidating and emotionally taxing, particularly in family law cases. ADR, on the other hand, allows parties to work through their dispute in a more relaxed and informal setting. This can help reduce stress and anxiety for all parties involved, and allow for a more positive outcome.
In conclusion, ADR services offer numerous advantages over traditional litigation, including cost savings, flexibility, faster resolution times, confidentiality, tailored solutions, creativity, and reduced stress. Lallemont Law provides several ADR services, including mediation, parenting time evaluations, social early neutral evaluations, and financial early neutral evaluations.
For more information, feel free to call the office or fill out a Request for Meeting form on our website today.
WINONA, MN -The National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) is pleased to announce that Angela V. Lallemont of the law firm, LALLEMONT LAW, LLC has successfully achieved Board Certification as a Family Trial Law advocate. The NBTA was formed out of a strong conviction that both the law profession and its clients would benefit from an organization designed specifically to create an objective set of standards illustrating an attorney’s experience and expertise in the practice of trial law.
Angela V. Lallemont, joins a growing number of trial attorneys that have illustrated their commitment to bettering the legal profession by successfully completing a rigorous application process and providing the consumer of legal services with an objective measure by which to choose qualified and experienced legal counsel.
The elaborate screening of credentials that all NBTA board certified attorneys must successfully complete includes: demonstration of substantial trial experience, submission of judicial and peer references to attest to their competency, attendance of continuing legal education courses, submission of legal writing documents, proof of good standing and passing of an examination.
Board Certification is the highest, most stringent, and most reliable honor an attorney can achieve. Board certifications are the only distinctions awarded by non-profit organizations. The NBTA as well as all board certifying organizations are committed to safeguarding the public’s ability to choose a good attorney.
Approximately three percent of American lawyers are board certified, and Ms. Lallemont is a member of a very select group who has taken the time to prove competence in their specialty area and earn board certification.
Angela Lallemont, owner of Lallemont Law, LLC, was accepted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys (“AAML”). The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers was founded in 1962, by highly regarded domestic relations attorneys “To provide leadership that promotes the highest degree of professionalism and excellence in the practice of family law.” Academy Fellows are highly skilled negotiators and litigators who represent individuals in all facets of family law. These areas include divorce, annulment, prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, marital settlement agreements, child custody and visitation, business valuations, property valuations and division, alimony, child support and other family law issues.
Application for fellowship included an extensive application process, a rigorous examination and several interviews. Fellows must have at least 10 years of family law experience and must demonstrate substantial involvement in the area of matrimonial and family law. During the interview process, Lallemont demonstrated her ability to competently handle complex matrimonial and family law litigation as lead counsel; including the trial of matters related to custody, child support, division of property, or spousal support. Additionally, acceptance required Lallemont to demonstrate she endeavored to encourage the study, improve the practice, and elevate the standards of matrimonial and family law.
To be represented by a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers is to be represented by a leading practitioner in the field of family law. The 1,650 AAML Fellows across the United States are generally recognized by judges and attorneys as preeminent family law practitioners with a high level of knowledge, skill and integrity. Academy Fellows enjoy a reputation for professionalism, competence and integrity.
“The American Institute of Family Law Attorneys has recognized the exceptional performance of Minnesota’s family law attorney Angela Lallemont as 2019 10 best family law attorney for client satisfaction.
The American Institute of Family Law Attorneys is a third-party attorney rating organization that publishes an annual list of the top 10 family law attorneys in each state. Attorneys who are selected to the “10 best” list must pass AIOFLA’s rigorous selection process, which is based on client and/or peer nominations, thorough research and AIOFLA’s independent evaluation. AIOFLA’s annual list was created to be used as a resource for clients during the attorney-selection process…”
Angela has been helping a family member through some traumatic family issues.She is supportive, dedicated, tough and extremely professional. We have felt confident throughout that we would get the right, justified result in our case and we were not wrong to feel this way.She is is very direct and straight to the point with no BS. That's how we roll too.Everyone there has been wonderful to our family.Highly recommended!
Lallemont Law is very efficient in getting you taken care of, Angie does not waste any time getting started and she comes up with a game plan to take action. If you need an attorney, look no further, Lallemont is good in what they do, we always have Lallemont help in our legal issues. Thank you Angie!
I cannot thank-you enough for all your help. I am appreciative for the time you spend making sure I understand what is taking place and how clearly you look out for the best interest of your clients Thanks again.
I’ve worked with Lallemont Law on estate planning and real estate law over the past few years and highly recommend this law firm. Angie and Tracey are great to work with and bring a level of experience and professionalism that is unmatched.
I am very pleased with the services provided by Lallemont Law. I recently hired Lallemont Law to complete my will and trust. I have also worked with them for real restate transactions, my own and my clients. Angela is compassionate, sincere, professional and knowledgeable. I highly recommend Lallemont Law!
Angela is knowledgeable and was very easy to talk to and listens well. She also explained things in a way that was easy to understand. Tracey was right on top of getting everything organized and seeing things went smoothly. Very easy to work with during this Covid-19 shut down.
5 STARS ++ I highly recommend this law firm to anybody that is going through a divorce. Angela is extremely caring, sincere, smart and strong. She was my backbone. She would listen to me and you could tell she wanted to help.Can't say anymore but THANK YOU!!! Angela....Glad I came to you.
I am very pleased to have met and work with this Law firm. Lallemont Law will be my go to for any and all property transactions. Mrs. Lallemont is very knowledgeable on Minnesota and Wisconsin laws. I've also used their services for our Will and Trusts. I highly recommend Lallemont Law. They are located in a great location in downtown Winona.
Angela assisted me with estate issues. She was compassionate and caring as well as knowledgeable. It was a difficult emotional situation and she was aware of this and allowed time to process the information that she provided me. I would highly recommend her to anyone needing legal assistance.
Angela is amazing. She is so heartfelt in everything she does. I have worked with her on different family law issues and have referred her to many family and friends and have never been so impressed with an attorney for knowledge and personality. She has a passion for people and it shows!