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Study points to correlation between spouses' ages and divorce

Growing up we all have memories that correspond strongly to cultural references which are unique to our generation. For example, an individual in his or her forties is likely to have very different memories and points of reference when it comes to music, movies, technology and national and world events.

When it comes to relationships, most people tend to relate best to people who are of the same or similar age. Whether reminiscing about a beloved childhood television series or one's location when an event of national or international significance occurred, having these common cultural and historical references helps people relate to one another.

The findings of a recent Emory University study of 3,000 people indicate that age gaps between spouses correlates to increased divorce rates. For example, researchers found that even a five-year age gap between spouses equated to an 18 percent increased likelihood of a couple divorcing. The wider the age gap, the greater likelihood of divorce.

Of course there are many happily married couples who are 10, 20 and even more years older or younger than a spouse. A disparity in age alone, therefore, shouldn't necessarily deter an individual from dating or even marrying someone younger or older.

In cases where spouses with a wide age gap do decide to divorce, issues related to the division of assets and child custody can grow contentious. An individual who is 20 years his or her spouse's senior is likely to have entered into a marriage with more wealth and assets. Additionally, a parent's age could be seen as a negative when it comes to making child custody decisions.

Source: MarketWatch, "The bigger the age gap, the shorter the marriage," Quentin Fottrell, Nov. 11, 2014

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