Skip to Main Content
Fairfax 703-462-8718
Arlington 703-746-9103
Leesburg - Ashburn 571-291-3190
Manassas 571-208-1267
Fredericksburg - Stafford 540-370-4140

Marriage, Age and Divorce

MarriageWhile there have been several studies lately which point to a decrease in the overall number of people getting married, there is a very obvious, but perhaps less publicized fact that comes along with fewer marriages: fewer divorces. These facts do not change the reality that most, if not all people, at some point in their lives, wonder when the “best” time to get married is. For some the answer is never; however, for many people the answer depends on several factors: age, maturity, financial considerations, career aspirations, etc.

An even more intriguing question is presented by a recent analysis performed by sociologist Nicholas Wolfinger: “When is the best age to get married if you don’t want to get divorced?”

Wolfinger’s analysis, aided by data provided by the National Survey of Family Growth, points out some seemingly intuitive and logical points. For example: a person who marries at age 25 is 50% less likely to divorce than a person who marries at age 20. To a lot of people, this would make sense, as those who are twenty years old may lack the financial resources, maturity and/or life experience to make a marriage work.

To this reader and family law practitioner, the most surprising conclusion that Wolfinger reached was that for those who married after the age of 32, the likelihood of a divorce increased by five percent for each additional year after the age of 32. This not only seems to be in stark contrast to past trends, but also seems to refute the old adage about being “older and wiser” when it comes to those who hold off on getting married until later in life.

There are many theories as to why the divorce rate seems to increase as people enter their mid-to-late thirties. Wolfinger offers some of his own, namely that (a) those who tend to wait until they are in their late 30s or early 40s may not think of themselves as the “marrying type” and (b) the pool of available marriage candidates grows significantly smaller as one gets older.

Wolfinger also points out that the average age for men to get married, as of 2011, was 29 and the average age for women was 27. Wolfinger cites the apparent societal acceptance of monogamous relationships without marriage, and the rising importance of furthering or maximizing one’s financial capabilities before deciding to marry.

No matter at what age you married or at what age (if any) you decide to seek a divorce, Livesay & Myers, P.C. is here to help. We have a team of experienced divorce lawyers in Ashburn, FairfaxManassas, and Fredericksburg, Virginia. If you are facing a divorce in Northern Virginia, contact us to schedule a consultation today.