The study of divorce is interesting because there is no one thing that guarantees (or prevents) the end of a marriage. For instance, statistics show that getting married at an early age makes divorce more likely, but there are still many couples who make it last for decades, despite an early marriage.
Even so, understanding more about what can lead to divorce can be illuminating — especially if you’re concerned about the possibility of one in your future.
How the odds of a divorce change as gaps in age increase
One thing that researchers have found is that larger age gaps increase the odds of divorce. For instance, if there is a one-year gap between partners, that increases the divorce odds by a mere 3%. Increase that gap to five years, though, and the divorce odds go up by 18%. Increase the age gap between a couple to 10 years, and the divorce odds are 39% higher.
You can clearly see the trend, which is underscored by the 95% increase in divorce odds for those who are 20 years apart. Exactly why the age gap matters is a bit less clear. It could be that different values and priorities are held by those who are in different age groups. It could also be that the age gap seems more substantial as people grow older. For instance, someone who is 21 may not feel that much younger than a 41-year-old spouse, but watching that person become a senior citizen may be hard for a spouse who is now just in their 40s.
Regardless of the specific reasons, if you do find yourself heading toward divorce, make sure you know what legal steps to take to protect your interests. An experienced attorney can help you learn more.