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Risk of divorce ‘vanishes’ over time

The longer a couple has been married the less likely they are to seek a divorce, new research indicates.

Campaign group The Marriage Foundation published Vanishing Divorce this week, a report based on data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In it, they claimed that once a couple has been married for ten years, the odds they will divorce falls every year until it essentially ‘vanishes’.

Couples who have been married for 30 years face a one in 25 chance that their marriage will end they said, but couples married for more than 50 years only have a one in 1,500 chance of divorce.

Those who reach their 50th anniversary are roughly 200 times more likely to see their 100th birthday than they are to divorce the group found. The odds of a man living that long are about one in ten and for a woman it is one in six, they claimed.

The group insisted that their findings ‘demolish’ the argument that “the growing prevalence of divorce among older couples has anything to do with higher divorce rates or living longer”.

Marriage Foundation research director Harry Benson claimed that the high rate of divorce among older people was primarily a result of people marrying later in life.  The “rates by year of marriage are actually almost unchanged from since the 1970s”, he said.

The foundation’s research indicates that “with each year that a couple makes their relationship work, the easier it becomes for them to stay together”, he added.

Former High Court judge Sir Paul Coleridge insisted that the 40 per cent divorce rate was “a dangerous half-truth”. This new research suggested that “reality is much more encouraging”, he continued.

“This is very good news. It shows that effort invested in the marriage pays real dividends over the longer term.”

Sir Paul founded the organisation in 2012 and last year he called for the government to reward long-married couples with tax breaks.

To read Vanishing Divorce, click here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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