Divorce records can be controversial things. Not everyone gets legally married and therefore not everyone gets legally divorced. Knowing this tells us the divorce rate could be higher than what it is and statistics on divorce my not be entirely accurate. No can truly know for sure how many common law marriages go awry because a lot of these people never file for any court proceedings. And in the case of spiritual marriages that aren't even tracked, then you have no research in how many of these unions result in a break up of the family.
We can theoretically look at the statistics of divorce and assume the divorce rate is a lot higher than the divorce records show. So why is this so important to track and keep accurate? For the sake of everyone, the divorce records must be accurate for the divorce rate to be properly calculated. It seems that it's difficult to get an accurate reading no matter what you do. When it comes to divorce records and statistics on divorce, the only information the court has to use is the actual cases that it sees over the years - this may not include all cases of child support or custody cases from couples that were never married. It looks at its filed documents and compares them to the previous years. This is how the divorce rate is calculated. Inaccuracies in the system are not necessarily the fault of the court. Then who is at fault for these figures being off base?
The simple answer is lack of census tracking. This is the simple answer because the only way to discover approximately how many people are not legally married, but living together or spiritually married could be tracked by the census department. It could also track if you have ever lived with someone for more than 7 years previous to your current situation. These figures could then be used to calculate the actual divorce rate. But this is the simple answer because it does not take into account all the fallacies of a system where you rely on people to be completely honest about themselves and their past. People without divorce records generally don't want to go on record as having divorce records that are not filed with any court.
So what would be the more complex answer - no one can really know. In an infallible system, the answer would be to track the amount of custody and child support cases in conjunction with the divorce records to find a more accurate number. However in today's free sex society, this is not always accurate either. With more people sleeping with more people and doing so in such a casual manner, pregnancies result from one night stand that were never intended as relationships of any sort. Therefore, the records of child custody and child support cases would then have to be cross-referenced with the cases requesting proof of paternity to get a closer to accurate figure.
This could be a process that no one in their right mind would want to take on, but in a world where knowing actual statistics and being informed is key, maybe it is a task that we should think about undertaking. The numbers of such a process could be overwhelming staggering. Finding out the real divorce rate and statistics on divorce could be an interesting read.