Age at divorce changes over decades

Based on a survey that looks at age and divorce, California couples may be more likely to get divorced after the age of 40 than in previous decades. The survey examined census data from 1960 and 1980 along with 2013 data from the Minnesota Population Center's Integrated Microdata Sample Project to compare ages at which people were more likely to be divorced, separated or in second or later marriages.

Young couples in 1960 and 1980 were more likely to fall into that category than couples in their 20s in 2013. In 2013, only around 12 percent of 30-year-olds reported being divorced. In 1980, that number was closer to 25 percent. The numbers were similar for 30-year-olds in 1960 to the ones in 2013, but people who were in their 20s in the 1960s were divorced or separated at a higher rate than their modern counterparts.

In 2013, nearly the same number of 59-year-olds were in first marriages as were on subsequent marriages, divorced or separated with the former at 42 percent and the latter at 43 percent. This age was when the highest number of people were in the latter category. Although the divorce rate for people 60 and older begins to decline, it is still much higher than in previous decades.

People going through a divorce may struggle whether they have been married for five or fifty years, and among the many issues that must be resolved are property division and, if the couple have minor children, child support. Although California is a community property state, one part of the process may be deciding which assets count as marital property. For example, if a couple is separated for years before being formally divorced or if one person receives an inheritance, this may affect what assets are subject to division.

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