Virginia study finds divorce rate higher for younger people

On behalf of Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC posted in Divorce on Monday, December 17, 2012.

The University of Virginia and the National Marriage Project have published some interesting statistics about young people who get married. This data was presented along with other marriage and divorce statistics in a recent New Mexico State University article. Together, all of this information suggests that individuals who get married younger have a greater chance of getting divorced.

Statistics about marriage and divorce in the U.S. already reveal that nearly 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. The divorce rate is even higher for those who marry younger. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 60 percent of couples who marry between the ages of 20 and 25 get divorced.

There are many reasons why younger couples experience a greater incident of divorce. Social workers and marriage counselors posit that limited life experiences and emotional immaturity may be causes. Additionally, living together before marriage increases the odds of divorce. Statistics provided by the University of Virginia and the National Marriage Project reveal that women who live with their future spouse are actually 80 percent more likely to proceed with a divorce case.

With the chances of divorce so high for young adults in Virginia and elsewhere, it is imperative that young adults appreciate the legal ramifications of both marriage and divorce.

Virginia law outlines several requirements for marriage. Typically, individuals must be at least 18 years old or get consent from their parents to marry. Additionally, they must have sufficient mental capacity and not be blood relatives. They must also obtain a marriage license and have the appropriate witnesses.

In addition to understanding how to enter into a marriage, young Virginians should identify the steps that they can take at the outset of marriage to protect against the devastation of divorce. One protective legal device is a prenuptial agreement. Such agreements protect assets and can help avoid costly and long disputes at the end of a marriage.

Marriage is both an emotional and legal union. For young adults, it is important for them to understand all of the aspects of marriage, especially with the exceedingly high divorce rates for this age group.

Source: The Round Up Daily, "Getting married young could increase chance of divorce," Liz Baker, Dec. 6, 2012

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