Divorce – at what age is your marriage in the danger zone?

2012-09-29 09:03

Divorce – at what age is your marriage in the danger zone? 

Divorce Trends

Data released by Statistics South Africa reveals that the men generally divorce at the median age of 41 years and women at 38 years. This indicates that males generally divorce at older ages than females, with a difference of about three years.

The pattern of median age by population group and sex is also quite interesting where black African males had the highest median age of 44 years at the time of divorce and females from the Indian/Asian group had the lowest median age of 35 years at the time of divorce. The median age for black African women is currently 38 years and the ages for white males and females and is 42 and 39 years respectively.

Although there are differences in the ages at which most males and females from the various population groups divorced, the age patterns are quite similar. The data reveal that there were fewer divorces among the young (less than 25 years old) and the old (55 years and older). For male divorcees, the peak age group at divorce was 35–39 for each of the population groups with the exception of the black Africans which peaked at 40–44. In the case of females, the peak age group was 35–39 for each of the population groups except the Indian/Asian group that peaked at 30-34.

The data also indicated that 27, 3% of the marriages ended by divorce lasted between five and nine years and 20,9% lasted less than five years. Thus, almost 50% of marriages ended by divorce in South Africa lasted less than 10 years. The data also revealed that as the duration of marriages increased the number of divorces decreased and that the duration of marriages for divorcees from the black African, coloured and Indian/Asian population groups was between five to nine years whereas for the white population group those that divorced before the fifth anniversary were slightly more than those divorcing between five and nine years.

Marriage Trends

Women generally seem to enter marriage at younger ages than men. The median age for bridegrooms was 34 years compared with 30 years for brides. Despite the fact that men tend to marry younger women, 14,4% bridegrooms were younger than their brides whilst 7,3% were of the same age as their brides.

It is interesting to note that as much as 43,4% of bachelors who married divorcees were younger than their brides and 17,9% of male divorcees who married widowed women were also younger than their brides. The smallest percentage 5,8% was observed for male divorcees marrying spinsters who were older than themselves.

What is also interesting is that there was a decline in the registration of customary marriages of approximately 26,0%. For example, in 2004 there were 20 301 customary marriages registered, this decreased to 9 996 in 2010.

Bertus Preller

Famly Law Attorney

Abrahams and Gross Inc.

Twitter: bertuspreller

Tel: 021 422 1323

Regular Blog: http://www.divorceattorneys.wordpress.com

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