What Is the Average Length of Marriage?

Every married couple dreams about their happy and long life together. However, these romantic fantasies often do not become a reality. According to the statistics, the average marriage length in the USA is 8 years. Some may think that this period is rather short; nevertheless, there are many countries, such as France or Qatar, where couples decide to divorce even earlier.

Now that you know the answer to “What is the average length of a marriage that ends in divorce?”, it’s time to consider other divorce numbers and dwell on its most common reasons in more detail.

What Is the Average Age of Divorce in the USA?

Surprisingly, there are specific tendencies to divorce in people of a certain age. So, when do most divorces happen? According to the statistics, more than half of first divorces occur in couples of around 30 years. Moreover, the most common years for divorce is between 25 and 39.

As for grey divorces, referred to those among couples over 50 years of age, their number has doubled in recent years. Less stigma on divorce and a longer life span are among the main reasons for this increase.

It is important to mention that this divorce rate in the United States applies only to heterosexual couples. In same-sex unions, the numbers are much higher.

Which State Has the Highest Divorce Rate?

We have already mentioned the average age of divorce when it comes to a nationwide statistic. But what about a state-wide figures?

Speaking about the highest divorce rate by state, the main leaders are:

  • Nevada with 4.2 divorces per 1000 marriages. High numbers in the state of Nevada, the capital of the US divorces, can be explained by the phenomenon of Las Vegas overnight marriages that often occur unexpectedly and do not last for long.
  • Alabama with 3.6 per 1000 marriages. A considerable percentage of the population living in poverty, resulting from a low education rate, is the primary reason for these numbers.
  • Arkansas with 3.6 per 1000 marriages. This increase can be explained by the large number of young marriages in the state.

It is paramount to mention that the crude rate across the country is 2.5 per 1000. However, the situation is not as gloomy as it may seem – in recent years, the percentage of divorces in the US has been decreasing.

Divorce Statistics on Reasons for Divorce

When a couple decides to part ways, there is always something more than “irreconcilable differences.” So, why do people get divorced? Here are the most common factors contributing to the marriage dissolution in the United States:

  • Lack of Intimacy

Very often, spouses find themselves distancing from each other emotionally and physically, and this distance creates problems in their marriage and eventually leads to a divorce.

Being in a relationship with a cold partner makes the second spouse feel lonely, vulnerable, and isolated. Lack of emotional intimacy is perceived as one of the top reasons for divorce, with 31% of couples citing this reason. Moreover, psychologists claim that insufficient emotional intimacy often leads to adultery, which ruins the marriage one way or another.

Speaking about the lack of physical intimacy, it is important to emphasize that it is a serious concern for married couples. Studies show that more than 37% of sexless marriages in the US end in divorce. In some states, such as North Dakota, a regular refusal to have sex without any serious reasoning, which is sometimes referred to as “alienation of affection,” can be a ground for a marriage dissolution, so spouses should not underestimate this reason.

  • Infidelity

Recent surveys show that 55% of divorces in the United States occur because of adultery. There are several types of infidelity, such as sexual, emotional, financial, cyber, etc., and any can inevitably ruin the marriage.

Being unable to trust their partner ever again, the spouse who was cheated on decides to file for divorce. Even though adultery is not considered a crime in the United States, proven cases of infidelity may have a considerable impact on the court’s decision on assets and property division, alimony, and even child custody.

For example, in Georgia, the cheating spouse won’t be awarded alimony if their infidelity is proven in court. In order to prove that adultery took place during a marriage, one must provide evidence in the form of photos, text messages, call history, bills, and so on.

  • Too Many Conflicts

A study by AAML showed that more than 65% of marriages were ruined due to communication problems. It is not a secret that effective and transparent communication is the best basis for a happy family. A failure to listen and understand the second party and the inability to embrace each other’s differences can ruin even the strongest bond if the couple does not take measures to solve this issue.

Moreover, constant fights and disagreements may lead to other more serious problems in a marriage, such as adultery or domestic abuse.

If this situation sounds familiar to you, you should know that this issue usually does not happen overnight. It takes months, if not years, for a couple to lose the connection and distance from each other. In order to avoid such a problem, it is best to seek family counseling if there are no ways to reestablish communication inside the family.

  • Domestic Violence

In 2023, it was estimated that 23.5% of divorces were caused by domestic abuse. Today, an affected spouse can file for a divorce in any state without necessarily proving that they were mistreated. Also, 2/3 of states regard domestic violence as a ground for a fault-based divorce. However, in some jurisdictions, the court recognizes only certain types of abuse, for example, physical, as the reason that can influence the final proceedings.

The same as with adultery, proven cases of recurrent abuse can influence assets and property division, child custody allocation, and alimony award.

If you are staying in an abusive relationship, you should know that it won’t change for the better. Each new day with the abusive spouse puts your life in real danger. In case you are afraid for your life, it’s best to hire a lawyer who will help you file for a divorce and request a restraining order from the court.

  • Financial Struggles

Lawyers claim that around 30% of divorces happen because of the financial problems in a family. This reason is especially common for Gen X and Boomer couples. The most frequent financial issue that leads to the collapse of the marriage is debt. Americans generally have strong negative feelings toward debts, so it’s no surprise that it becomes the reason for serious conflicts in relationships.

Opposing views on spending money are also one of the leading causes of divorce. A study by Ramsay Solutions showed that spouses fight over their finances more frequently and intensely than over other no less important reasons.

Finally, constant conflicts over expenditures and debts may lead to financial infidelity when one partner is not transparent about their finances with the second party. It includes hiding debts and incomes, secret excessive spending, etc.

  • Addictions

Even though only 7% of divorces occur due to addiction problems of one of the spouses, it is still a serious issue that ruins thousands of American families each year. While there are several kinds of addictions, like drug, alcohol, sex, social media, video games, etc., the leading one that ends in the highest number of marriage dissolutions is substance and alcohol abuse.

Overall, it is extremely difficult to build a healthy and happy family when one of the spouses suffers from addiction, especially if they express no interest in recovery. Addictive behavior often leads to dreadful consequences, starting from a toxic household environment and ending with financial issues, violence, and crimes.

  • Different Worldviews

6% of US couples cite different values and morals as the main cause of divorce. Political, religious, economic, and other views can be a reason for a marriage dissolution if neither party is willing to compromise.

The cases when spouses part ways because she is an opponent of Democrats while he is an avid supporter of Republicans are not as rare as one may think. In a recent study conducted by Wakefield, 10% of couples claimed that they had decided to divorce due to contrasting political views. Among the ex-spouses surveyed, the biggest share of respondents were millennials and Gen Z couples – 11% and 22%, respectively.

H2 Who is More Likely to Get Divorced?

While it is difficult to say for sure who benefits more from divorce, we have compiled a list of couples who have rather high chances of ending their marriage:

  • Young Couples

Young age often forces us to make hasty decisions, and marriage is no exception. There is a steady link between divorce and age gradation – the younger the couple, the higher the chance of marriage dissolution. A study conducted by the Ohio State University showed that couples between 20-24 years tend to divorce much more often than those who reach the age of 25 and higher. Moreover, most of those divorces occur during the early years of marriage.

Bad communication, financial struggles, inability to take responsibility, adultery, and abuse are the most frequent reasons for divorce among young couples.

  • Partners with Several Previous Marriages

Studies show that second marriages have rather higher chances of ending in divorce than the first ones – 65% against 42%. One of the main reasons for the dissolution is money. If a person had financial issues in their previous marriage, they may become even more serious after divorce proceedings, especially if they must pay child support and alimony.

The second most common reason is having kids from previous marriages who struggle to get along with their step-parent or/and step-siblings. Finally, one more common reason for the collapse of a new marriage is a failure to reflect on past mistakes that led to the first divorce.

The statistic on third marriages is even more shocking here – 74% of such unions end in divorce.

  • Couples with Low Level of Education

In 2013, Monthly Labor Review conducted a study that showed that couples with a college level of education tend to divorce less often than those with low or no education. The rate of divorce is especially high among spouses who did not finish high school.

The reason behind such disparity is that couples with a college education generally have more financial and other resources that may help them resolve any issues in the family.

  • Families Where Wife Earns More Than Husband

Women bring 50% of family income across the US. In metropolitan areas such as New York City and Los Angeles, 40% of women earn more than their husbands.

One of the main reasons for divorce, in this case, is men’s feeling of insecurity and fear that their wives do not respect them when they are not breadwinners, which in turn leads to constant conflicts. Finally, the chances of divorce increase significantly in families where the husband is unemployed. It is important to mention that this trend prevails not only in the United States but also globally.

  • Couples Who Cohabited Before Marriage

Finally, couples who lived together before tying the knot also fall at risk of divorce, especially if they are not officially engaged. According to the researchers Stanley and Rhoades, engagement, in this case, serves as a powerful public signal that the partners declared their commitment, which appears to be an important factor for relationship stability.

On the contrary, 40% and 29% of couples who decided to live together due to practical reasons, such as financial benefit and convenience, eventually divorced.