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Study Suggests Waiting to Get Married, But Not Too Long

Posted on in Divorce

divorce risk, marriage, Arlington Heights family law attorneyThere are countless factors that play into a couple’s decision to get married, just as there are countless factors that affect the decision to divorce. Many studies have been done to analyze some of the various contributing concerns, and, as you might expect, trends often start to emerge. Whether the trends are actually meaningful or simply coincidental is often the basis of additional research, but the trends themselves are pretty interesting. In fact, if such patterns are to be believed, a recent study has found the perfect age at which to get married so that the risk of divorce is the lowest, and it may be somewhat surprising.

Decreasing Risk, then Increasing Risk

According to an in-depth data analysis conducted by Nicholas Wolfinger, professor of Family and Consumer Studies at the University of Utah, the prime age to get married for the first time is 32 years old. It is at that age that the rate of divorce stops decreasing and begins to go back up. Wolfinger’s research was based on information gathered in the National Survey of Family Growth, and was developed using statistical methods to identify nonlinear relationships in the data.

His findings showed a decreasing likelihood for divorce for every year older at the time of a person’s first marriage. For each year from 18 to 32, the decrease was by almost 11 percent per year, meaning a person getting married at age 29, as opposed to 27, was 22 percent less likely to get divorced. After age 32, however, the trend started to reverse, with each subsequent year increasing the likelihood of divorce by 5 percent.

Possible Reasons

While Wolfinger’s analysis was primarily statistical, he did provide some conjecture regarding why the numbers show what they do. It is hardly surprising, he indicated, that the youngest groups are more likely to make poor relationship decisions, resulting in rocky marriages that often end in divorce. As a person matures, he or she begins to develop a better understanding of what he or she wants out of life and in a partner. Correspondingly, the divorce rate goes down.

At a certain point—around age 32, it would seem—those who may not be well-suited for marriage begin to comprise an increasing percentage of the individuals who are still unmarried. “Perhaps people who marry later,” Wolfinger wrote, “face a pool of potential spouses that has been winnowed down to exclude the individuals most predisposed to succeed at matrimony.” In short, the study seems to give credence to the idea of unmarried 30-something being still single for a reason.

While Dr. Wolfinger’s study points to an age range at which divorce is least likely, there is always the possibility that divorce will be necessary anyway. If you are considering divorce, contact a skilled Arlington Heights family law attorney to help you through the process. Call 847-253-3100 to schedule a free, confidential consultation today.




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