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Science shows several risk factors for divorce

While break-ups cannot always be predicted, there are some risk factors that make a marriage less likely to succeed. Social scientists have reviewed data from long-term studies and censuses to find trends related to divorce. Those seeking to get married or considering divorce in Alberta may find these findings interesting and applicable to their own lives. 

Age can be a risk factor in a marriage. Those who marry under age 25 may not have the maturity needed for marriage. Those over 32 may find compromises and lifestyle adjustments challenging, which is why the odds of divorce increase by 5 percent for every year after age 32. Age gaps can also be a challenge for married couples. Those with an age difference of five years are 18 percent more likely to split up, while a 10-year age gap increases the likelihood by 39 percent.

Careers and education can also play a role in determining the probability of a relationship not working out. A 2016 Harvard study found that heterosexual couples where the husband did not work full-time were more likely to divorce. Alberta couples with no post-secondary education may also be at a higher risk of divorce, though it is unclear whether the lack of education or the corresponding lack of income and opportunities are the cause of this.

Experts have also found other behaviours that may predict a high-risk relationship. These include contempt, overly-intense infatuation, bad conflict management skills and negativity towards a partner. There are many risks or reasons for divorce, but despite the diverse experiences, Alberta divorcees almost all need help reorganizing their lives and understanding the legalities when a marriage fails. A lawyer can help those considering or undergoing a divorce understand their next steps.

Source:, "7 things science says predict divorce", Shana Lebowitz, Oct. 27, 2017

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