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Is there a age at which to marry to minimize divorce risk?

A century ago, it was not unusual for people in U.S. and other countries to get married in their teens. This is no longer common practice, for a variety of reasons, such as increased opportunities in education, careers and dating.

Waiting to get married has several possible advantages. Older newlyweds are more likely to have gained valuable life and coping skills, and will be further along in their careers, making money problems a less likely scenario.

Traditionally, marriage experts have argued that the longer people wait to get married for the first time, the less likely they are to get divorced later on. But a new study suggests that there is a peak age period for marriage, after which your odds of divorce actually begin to go up again.

The magic age is 32, according to the study, which CheatSheet discusses in a recent article. After analyzing the data, researchers found that for each year a person waits to get married prior to age 32, the chances of divorce drop by 11 percent. But after that age, the odds the person will end up divorce begin to rise by 5 percent per year of age.

The study’s lead author is not sure why, but suspects that there is some sort of “selection effect” going on. People who have not gotten married by the time they are 32 may be “the kinds of people who aren’t predisposed toward doing well in their marriages,” the author said. This seems to be a diplomatic way of saying that people in their mid-30s who have never married have unpleasant personalities, or else they would have found someone to marry by now.

This cannot always be true, of course. Many people have found true love for the first time in their 30s, 40s or beyond, while many people who got married at 29 end up getting divorced a few years later.

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