We have all heard of the “7-year itch” but research conducted by The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has illustrated a current trend being dubbed the “20-year itch”.
As the “20-year itch” fuels a mid-life marriage breakdown, the AIFS has found the risk of divorcing after 20 years of marriage has more than doubled from 13 per cent in 1980 to 28 per cent in 2011. This coincides with the time kids pack up and leave the home – possibly forcing couples to focus on each other and their relationship after many years of focussing on the children.
Whilst the number of divorces involving children who remain under 18 years is slowly declining, the numbers of married couples filing for divorce once the kids leave the home is increasing. Whilst statistics show marriages are most likely to fail in their first 10 years (with 42% of divorcing couples married 10 years or less) the latest data points to this new trend.
In situations where the parties have been married around this 20-year period, the research indicates that women instigated 60% of divorces. It is interesting to note that this comes as a shock to most men. Following, it is even more interesting to note that it’s these men that were more likely to move on and remarry following this possible “mid-life” crisis.
The research shows that the average age for divorce is 45 for men and 42 for women. Further, women are least likely to remarry if they have high educational and professional qualifications. This suggests that financial stability / financial security can play a major role in the decision to leave a spouse. This is unsurprising, given that divorce can be a very financially stressful time for both women and men.
Some more statistics for you: In 1971 only 1% of couples lived together in a de facto relationship compared with today, 16% of couples live together without marrying. In 1971, 68% of divorces involved children under 18 but in 2013 that number has dropped to 47% of divorces involved children under 18. In 2015, 8 out of 10 couples have lived together prior to marriage and when couples do get married, they are doing it later. The median age for marriage is now 28 for women and 30 for men.
A sign of the times, no doubt.
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