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What is the most popular age to get divorced?

Getting divorced can be a difficult and emotional process at any age. However, research shows there are certain ages when going through a divorce is more common. Knowing the most popular ages for divorce can help provide insight into some of the factors that influence when marriages end.

In this article, we will explore the most common ages for getting divorced. We will look at national statistics on divorce rates by age group. We will also discuss some of the reasons why divorces tend to peak at certain ages. Understanding the connection between age and marital stability can potentially help married couples work through challenges at vulnerable times.

National Statistics on Age and Divorce

National survey data on divorce rates by age reveals some clear trends. While divorces can and do happen at any age, there are certain ages where they are statistically more prevalent.

According to a 2020 report from the National Center for Health Statistics, the national divorce rate peaked for people aged 45-49 years old. The divorce rate for this age group was 14.9 divorces per 1,000 married women. The second highest divorce rate was for women aged 50-54 years old, at 13.6 divorces per 1,000 married women.

Divorce Rates by Age Group

Age Group Divorces per 1,000 Married Women
45-49 years old 14.9
50-54 years old 13.6
40-44 years old 12.9
35-39 years old 11.5
30-34 years old 10.5
25-29 years old 7.5
20-24 years old 4.8

The data shows that divorce rates tend to rise steadily through the 20s and 30s, peak in the 40s, and remain high into the early 50s. After age 55, divorce rates decline sharply.

While divorces can and do happen at younger and older ages, the late 40s emerge as the most common time for marriages to end.

Why Do Divorces Peak in the Late 40s?

There are likely several reasons why divorce rates reach their highest points in the late 40s:

1. “Gray divorce” trend

Sociologists have documented a rise in “gray divorces” – divorces among older, long-married couples. Many couples in their late 40s and 50s are going through marital transitions near or after retirement. With adult children out of the house and more time together, some couples realize they have grown apart and decide to split.

2. Midlife challenges

The late 40s can bring unique emotional challenges. Depression, feeling stuck in a rut, the death of parents, and health problems are common midlife difficulties. These issues can strain marriages to the breaking point.

3. Children grown

By the late 40s, most kids are older and requiring less hands-on parenting. The departure of children from the home is a common trigger for divorce. Some couples discover they have little in common once the parental duties subside.

4. Financial stability

People in their 40s tend to be more financially stable than younger adults. They may feel more equipped to manage the costs of getting divorced compared to being financially vulnerable earlier in adulthood.

5. Last chance for change

The late 40s can bring a sense of mortality and the realization this is the last chance to start over. If the marriage is unhappy, splitting may seem better than spending the remaining years together.

Other Factors That Influence Divorce Rates

While the late 40s are the most common time for divorce, a variety of other factors impact marital stability:

Education Level

Research shows that divorce rates are lower for couples with more education. Those with a college degree have more marital stability.

Income Level

Higher income is associated with lower divorce risk. Having the resources to manage stress may strengthen higher-earning couples.

Age at Marriage

Younger ages at marriage are linked to higher divorce chances. Maturity and life experience may strengthen marriages that start later.

Premarital Cohabitation

Living together prior to marriage does not appear to prevent later divorce. Some studies even suggest it increases divorce risk slightly.


In the U.S., divorce rates are highest among Black couples and lowest among Asian couples. More research is needed to understand cultural factors.


Wives initiate divorces more often than husbands. However, some research suggests husbands are often unhappy first before wives then initiate divorce.

Number of Marriages

Divorce rates are higher for second and third marriages compared to first marriages. Bringing past baggage may complicate later marriages.


While divorce can happen at any age, the late 40s through early 50s tend to be the most common time for marriages to end. Midlife stressors, empty nests, desire for change, and other factors create vulnerability during this decade. Knowing the peak ages for divorce can help couples anticipate challenges and get support when they need it most. With care and commitment, marriages can thrive through midlife transitions. Awareness of divorce patterns can inspire proactive steps to protect marital bonds.