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Age, education and employment all factors in divorce risk

Virginia couples who have a 10-year age gap may be more vulnerable to divorce than spouses who are closer in age. This is one of many findings of studies that examine the likelihood of divorce. Couples who marry as teenagers or after the age of 32 are also more likely to divorce than those who marry in their late 20s.

People who dropped out of high school have an increased divorce rate than those who have more education, and this could be related to a lower income and the stress it creates in a marriage. However, husbands who only work part-time have a slightly higher divorce rate even if the wife is in a higher income bracket.

Some studies have interviewed couples and found those who speak negatively about their relationship are more likely to get a divorce. Couples who treat one another with contempt also have a higher divorce rate. A pattern in which one person in the couple withdraws while the other pressures for more communication is also an indicator of divorce risk. Finally, couples who are particularly affectionate when they first get married have a higher rate of divorce. It is theorized that this might be because it is difficult for them to sustain that degree of intensity.

When couples do decide to divorce for these or other reasons, they may still need to make decisions about property division. If they have kids, they may also need to reach a decision on child custody. In a high-conflict divorce, however, a couple may be unable to negotiate an agreement. If they have to go to court, they will have less control over the outcome. A judge will attempt to make a fair decision about the division of property and use the best interests of the child as the criteria for determining custody.

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