Many people who get married later in life -- in their 40s or 50s, for instance -- have to deal with a lot more complications if they get divorced. They have significant financial assets. They have retirement accounts. They own businesses. They have investments. They own homes, cars, boats and vacation cottages.
Divorce is not just about splitting up financial assets, but there's no doubt that it's a big part of the process. The more you have, the harder this becomes.
Rising age, rising rates
With this in mind, it's important to know that the odds of divorce increase when you reach your mid-30s.
You may have heard that divorce rates stay very high for people who get married early, such as those who get married when they are teenagers or college students. That's true. For every year past 18 years old, the rate keeps falling until the prime age between 28 and 32 years old, when people have the lowest divorce rates.
After 32, though, those rates start going up again. According to one study, every subsequent year increases the odds of divorce by roughly 5%.
Why does this happen?
The reasons for the increase are different in every case. It's not always clear exactly why people split up more often after that age.
One reason, for instance, could be that a person in their 30s adjusts more to living on their own. They have a schedule. They have habits. They get "set in their ways" and they know how they want to live.
Getting married can force them to change. If they were younger, they may adapt and make changes for their spouse. As they get older, are they less likely to do so?
Another thing to consider is that marriages at an older age are often second marriages. We already know that second marriages end at a higher rate than first marriages. They also bring on potential complications.
If you're getting married for a second time, do you already have kids from a previous marriage? Do you have a complicated relationship with your ex, which could include paying alimony or child support? Are your children going to have to learn how to get along with your new spouse -- or could they drive the two of you apart?
The more complicated things get, the more moving pieces you have to worry about. This simply gives you more factors that could lead to divorce than you would have had to deal with at 28 years old.
If you decide to get divorced, or if your spouse files for divorce, make sure you understand all of your legal rights in Connecticut -- no matter how old you are at the time.