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The link between marriage age and divorce odds

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2023 | Divorce |

How old were you when you got married? If you’re thinking about your odds of divorce, the answer to that question becomes surprisingly important. The chances that your relationship is going to end in divorce are closely tied to the age at which you and your spouse tied the knot.

Researchers who have looked at statistics about marriage over the decades found that getting married before age 32 increases the odds of divorce. For every year that a young person waits, the odds of divorce go down by 11%. For instance, if someone considers getting married at 20 years old and waits until 21, their odds will drop by 11% – and they’ll be significantly higher than those who get married at 18 or 19, though lower than someone who waited until 30.

Interestingly, this trend does not continue endlessly. It only lasts up until 32. After you reach that age, then your divorce odds start going back up for every year that you don’t get married by roughly 5% annually.

Why does this happen?

There are a number of things to consider here. Part of the reason for the second-half of the bell curve is that second marriages are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages. People are also generally older when they get married for the second time. Someone who is getting married in their 40s is more likely to be on their second marriage already.

As for why the rate declines at the beginning of the curve, young people are still growing and their brains are still developing, so they often drift apart as they grow older. Another issue is that getting married at a young age could be very difficult financially. It’s well known that financial stress leads to divorce, so this could also be part of the picture. Every situation is unique.

If you are considering filing for divorce, it is generally a good idea to seek legal guidance as proactively as possible in order to better protect your interests. This rule of thumb applies to adults of all ages.