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Is divorce risk higher or lower for those who marry later?

As individuals, we tend to hate to think that we fall into categories. But the truth is that we are social animals. That means we have a tendency to find like-minded individuals and congregate with them. As Shakespeare says, all the world’s a stage and we are merely players.

Very often, the script is predictable and it’s only when things deviate from the expected that life’s dramas develop. Because we rely on the rule of law in Louisiana and the rest of the country we turn to the legal system to get ourselves through these moments. Experienced divorce and family law practitioners understand the legal and social dynamics in these matters and how to navigate what can be choppy seas.

There can be times, however, when what we expect based on perceptions is not quite the reality. And it is in such situations that sociologists become important in providing a clearer picture of what really is going on.

For example, we suspect many would agree with the idea that the older a couple is when they get married, the less likely they are to get divorced. That’s been the conventional wisdom for generations. But according to a University of Utah sociologist, the data doesn’t necessarily bear that out.

This researcher analyzed information from the National Survey of Family Growth conducted by the federal government every few years. What he found is that the trend regarding age of marriage and risk of divorce is not a steady downward line, but rather an inverted bell curve.

According to his findings, divorces were more common for couples marrying from their teens and into their early 20s. They tapered off significantly through the 20s. But from the early 30s and onward, the rates of divorce begin to rise again.

The study’s author says the most significant discovery is that, as he puts it, “We do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that people who marry in their 30s are now at greater risk of divorce than are people who wed in their late 20s.” But he says what that means demographically for marriage going forward will take more study.

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