North Carolina divorce attorneys explain: Odds of divorce for long-term marriages

/// 07/26/2010

The announcement of the Gore divorce was surprising for many. As a couple who openly expressed their love and affection for each other on the 2000 campaign trail, we as a nation looked up to them as quintessential couple in a lengthy marriage. They were the parents of adult children who still held hands, kissed in public and made us almost turn our heads in embarrassment. The announcement of their separation was  a national shock and made media headlines for days. While the June 1 announcement was shocking it was still sad news no matter what the political affiliation. The split provoked questions of stability in long term marriages. While  statistics on divorce rates over the first ten years of marriage are readily available, it is a challenge to find divorce rates for long-term marriages.

The North Carolina family lawyers of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt explain that the likelihood of a marriage of long duration ending in divorce is relatively small, citing a recently released report from The Pew Research Center, “At Long Last, Divorce.” The report provides divorce statistics among those who have remained in long-term marriages and concludes that the probability of divorce after 40 years of marriage is slim.

In 2008, a Census Bureau survey found that only half a percent or less of couples who had been married for 40 years or more obtained a divorce in the previous 12 months. In other words, only one-half percent of all married couples, who had been married for four decades or more, sought a divorce between 2007 and 2008. For those who had been married only 25 years (while still a feat for many); the divorce rate jumped a half percent.

However, the report also points out that the likelihood of a marriage lasting deteriorates as the years pass.  Among men who got married for the first time between 1970 (the Gore’s wedding date) and 1974, 89 percent were still married to the same woman on their fifth anniversary. The percentage of those men who were still married ten years later dropped to 74 percent. Only 65 percent of men married between 1970 and 1974 were still married to their first spouse 15 years later. The percentage of men who remained married after 25 years was 54 percent. In other words, only 46 percent of the marriages made it to the 25-year mark. The report stated that trends for women were approximately the same.

The report also asserts that although adults in the Gores’ age group, (Al is 62) comprise a small share of people who divorce in any given year, their cumulative likelihood of ever having gone through a divorce is higher than that for most others age groups. In 2004, 38 percent of men in their fifties had gone through the divorce process. For those in their sixties, the percentage was 34. The rates for women were close to the same. Some 41 percent of women in their fifties had been divorced in 2004. For women in their sixties, 32 percent had been divorced.

Like wisdom and grace which grow with time, the odds of a divorce occurring also ripens. The divorce lawyers of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt have used their 80 plus combined years of family law litigation experience and  skills to help men and women dissolve their marriages in as non-adversarial a manner as possible so that they can move on with their lives.

If the time comes when wounds cannot be healed, seek the counsel of an experienced attorney. The North Carolina family lawyers of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt are dedicated to helping those seeking divorce get through the process as smoothly  and equitably as possible.


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