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Statistics show divorce in different decades

Pennsylvania couples in their 20s who are divorcing may have fewer peers in the same situation than couples in their 40s. A recent study compared census figures from 1960 and 1980 with data from the Minnesota Population Center's Integrated Public Microdata Sample Project and found some surprising results.

One was that couples in 1960 and 1980 who were in their 20s were far more likely to be divorced or on marriages that were not their first than couples in 2013. Only 12 percent of people who were 30 had divorced. In 1980, it was more than 20 percent. Another was that divorce has increased significantly for older couples since those years.

The study found that at age 59, around 42 percent of people were separated, divorced or were on second or subsequent marriages. Almost the same number of 59-year-olds, 43 percent, were on their first marriage.

Divorce can be difficult at any age. Younger couples may need to come to an agreement on child custody and child support. Older couples may be deeply entwined financially. Couples of any age may face disagreements over property division, and the emotional toll of divorce may result in people making poor choices. For example, spouses may want to hang onto a house for sentimental reasons without considering whether they can afford the mortgage and upkeep alone. People might give away too much because they want the divorce over with quickly or feel guilty for leaving a spouse. Others might become angry and try to drag the divorce out. An attorney may be helpful in making dispassionate suggestions regarding how to proceed. Some couples might also prefer to try mediation. This often leads to greater satisfaction with a focus on coming to an agreement that everyone is happy with.

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