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Which Year of Marriage is The Most Likely to End in Divorce?

A close up of a calendar without any marking specifying with month or year it is...

There are loads of reasons why people get divorced. Everything from the most obvious reasons, like affairs and money issues, to those personal particulars, that no one saw coming, like loading the dishwasher the “wrong way” and voting for the wrong politician in the elections. So far, there’s been no particular formula that marriage experts can settle on which can predict with complete accuracy whether or not a couple is likely to end their marriage, but there are some common themes they can agree on. And one of those is the year. That is, which year of the marriage a couple is in, because apparently that plays a role in their relationship’s likelihood of surviving.

Half of the marriages end in divorce, but when they end is important!

It may be a fact that almost half of marriages in the US end in divorce these days, but what’s not a fixed factor is when those marriages end. What also doesn’t seem to be fixed is the experts’ opinions on those high-risk windows of time in a marriage. Some experts say that the honeymoon period is safe, with a low risk of divorce, while others say the first few years of marriage are a very high-risk period for couples. We’re not sure, as we help people who’ve been married one year, all the way through people who’ve been married for 40 years. So we see people from all periods of their marriages.

So which years are the high-risk ones, and which are a low risk?

Although there is some disagreement about which periods are riskier than others, we’d like to share with you what a great number of marital experts say about which years in a marriage are more likely to end in divorce than others. If nothing else, you’ll know when to keep a watchful eye on your relationship…

  • Year 1 – 2: High Risk

Although this falls into the “honeymoon period” several studies show that a great number of marriages end within the first couple of years. In fact, more than half of marriages that are going to fail, do so within the first two years. Why? Aaaah, where do we begin…?

  • Year 3 – 4: Average Risk:

Census data shows that most couples who have kids do so in the third year of their marriage. Kids are a stressful addition to a marriage, which would lead you to believe that once a couple starts having children their marriage is more likely to fall apart. And who knows, that might be true for some, especially when you consider the fact that statistics show most people consider divorce for up to two years before making a definitive decision…

  • Year 5 – 8: High Risk:

This is the patch that includes the famous “7-year itch”. And while many people believe that’s nothing more than a Hollywood construct, but census data backs it up. Apparently, in the 1920s, the average marriage that ended in divorce lasted 6.6 years. Later, in 1974 it was 7.5 years; in 1990 it was 7.2 years. Right now the average marriage ending in divorce lasts about eight years. So maybe Marilyn Monroe was onto something after all…

  • Year 9 – 15: Low Risk:

Studies show that as children get older, many couples struggle less and experience less relationship stress. Year nine is about when kids start going to school, and in many families, this would be when many stay home parents return to work or are free from the constant caregiving role that comes with having little children. Once the kids get older, though, and start moving out, things change a little…

  • Year 15 – 20: Average Risk:

Because the majority of couples get married in their 30s these days, a twenty-year marriage would put them in their fifties. Although there is a rise in the number of divorces that happen during this period, it isn’t classified as a ‘high risk’ period in a marriage. Although, as you can see, it isn’t low risk either, which shouldn’t come as any surprise since the slow rise of “silver divorce” in the United States in recent years…

Wherever you are in your marriage, if it’s time to walk away…

We’re here to help. At The Kronzek Firm, our experienced and helpful family law attorneys can help you with every aspect of your divorce, including asset division, child custody, alimony and child support. If you’re ready to tie the knot and need help with your prenup, we can help with that too. Just call 866 766 5245 today and schedule a free consultation. This can be a very challenging time, but we’re here for you.


I've probably only left two or three reviews in my life, it takes something or someone exceptional for me to do this. Charles Kronzek is a perfect example of someone exceptional. Charles has helped our family numerous times over the last eight years. He is beyond generous with his time, seems to work all hours of the day, and is willing to explain every potential outcome no matter how many times I ask. While calls to legal counsel are often some of the most stressful times in life, I have never once left his office or a call with him feeling uncertain about the best possible path forward. You have earned our business many times over. Thank you Charles.

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