Does Age Matter in Marriage & Divorce?

Posted on November 04, 2016 01:57pm
Does Age Matter in Marriage & Divorce?
When it comes to matrimony, many people wonder if age should really matter. After all, if you truly love a person, should it matter if they are 10, 20, or 30 years older than you? Should it matter that you are both 19 and feel ready to get married? What about when the marriage doesn’t work out – is there an “age” for divorce? While this is a highly personal topic to which there is no right or wrong answer, there are still some grains of wisdom that can be gleaned from studies and other people’s experiences.

In this blog, we’d like to share some perspective on whether age matters in marriage and divorce.

Studies Link Bigger Age Gaps with Shorter Marriages

According to the New York Post, the bigger the age gap, the shorter the marriage. The argument here is that spouses from different generations have different values and cultural reference points, opposite tastes in film and music, very different sets of friends, and very different approaches to their sex life.

The article states that couples with a 20-year age gap are 95 percent more likely to divorce than a couple with only a one-year age difference at 3% likelihood. A 5-year age gap has an 18% increased risk of divorce, and that jumps to 39% for a 10-year age gap.

Can Age at Marriage Predict Divorce?

An Institute for Family Studies blog argues that for many people, the longer you wait to marry, the better – but not too long.

The blog suggests that young couples under the age of 25 have a higher divorce risk than couples who married in their late twenties, but data also shows that there is also an increased statistical risk of divorce for couples who waited until their mid-thirties to get married. According to a research, after age 32 the odds of divorcing increases by 5% each year.

Regardless of these conclusions, successful marriages are typically built on a solid foundation of maturity, coping skills, and social support rather than one's age.

Are Older Couples More Likely to Divorce?

When it comes to divorce, marital breakdown can happen at any age. Gray divorce has become very common in recent years – in fact, the divorce rate for people over the age of 50 has more than doubled since 1990. Regardless of whether older people got married at the “right age” or not, people are beginning to see divorce not as an embarrassing social stigma, but as a way to take control of their own happiness and rewrite their futures.

According to Susan L. Brown, a sociologist at Bowling Green State University who authored a report on gray divorce, “It’s not as if marital quality has suddenly declined. Instead, I think we have higher expectations now for what constitutes a successful marriage.”

Is There an Ideal Age to Get Married or Divorced?

Despite all the speculation, studies, data, and opinions about how age affects marital relationships, ultimately there is no rule governing the “ideal” age to get married or divorced. Each couple and each marriage is different. If you are thinking about a divorce, it is important to remember this fact, and to make the decisions that work best for you and your situation.

Thinking About Divorce? We're Here for You

Having handled thousands of divorce cases in more than two decades of practice, we have extensive experience with all types of divorce and family law issues and would be happy to help you with your matter.

McKinley Irvin invites you to contact a Washington divorce attorney at our firm for an understanding and thorough review of your case.

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