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Data on 'best' age to wed appears to need more study

Two people who decide to marry, regardless of whether they do it through formal processes or the more informal means of common law marriage that is recognized here in Texas, don't tend to take the step lightly. And they certainly don't do it with the idea that they will divorce at some point down the road.

Even while the widely accepted estimate is that half of all marriages end in divorce, the presumption most people have of the social institution is that those who say "I do" intend for that to be a one-time statement. And another presumption many make is that the older a person is when they tie the knot for the first time, the more likely it is that their marriage will succeed. But one University of Utah researcher says the numbers don't bear that out.

According to an analysis of data from the National Survey of Family Growth by sociologist Nicholas H. Wolfinger, there may be an optimal age range for marriages. And it appears to be somewhere in a person's late 20s and early 30s. Outside of that age range, theĀ graph of the rates of divorce looks like an inverse bell curve.

Wolfinger stresses that his discovery is about statistical risk of divorce not actual experience. It doesn't mean that those who wed before their late 20s or after their early 30s are destined to divorce. But he does find it interesting that the risk is higher on either side of the low point. And he says it will take some additional research to figure out what the implications of the findings may be for marriage demographics going forward.

What is certain is that divorce happens. It is nearly always stressful, even in those instances when alternatives to divorce litigation are pursued. In any case, the help of an experienced family law attorney should be sought to ensure the protection and defense of individual rights.

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