More Divorces Among Long-Term Couples

  • By Park Yu-yeon

    April 25, 2013 08:23

    The number of divorces among couples who have lived together for more than 20 years has overtaken that of false starters. A quarter of couples who got divorced last year were those who had been married for more than 20 years, Statistics Korea said Tuesday.

    Some 32,000 elderly couples accounted for 26.4 percent of total divorces last year, whereas only 28,200 couples who had been married for less than four years got divorced.

    Until 2011, false starters accounted for the largest portion of divorces. In 2011, 26.9 percent of divorces were between couples married for less than four years, 18.9 percent married between five to nine years, 15.2 percent between 10 to 14 years, 14.2 percent between 15 to 19 years and 24.8 percent for more than 20 years.

    But last year the number of divorces among couples married less than 10 years declined, but it rose among those who had been married for more than a decade. Divorces among couples who had been married for more than 20 years soared 6.8 percent. Divorces among elderly couples who had been married for more than 30 years jumped a whopping 8.8 percent in 2012 to 8,600 cases.

    "Young couples seeking divorce are required to undergo a mandatory one- to three-month cooling-off period, and this has put the brakes on hasty divorces," an official at Statistics Korea said. "But a growing number of middle-aged and elderly women want to live their own lives before it's too late, leading to an increase in the number of splits among older couples."

    Meanwhile, 327,100 couples tied the knot last year, down 2,000 compared to 2011. The slowdown is likely due to the recession and the prohibitive cost of weddings.

    The average marrying age was 32.1 for men and 29.4 for women. In 68.2 percent of couples who married for the first time, the groom was older than the bride. The spouses were the same age in 16.2 percent, and in 15.6 percent the bride was older than the groom. The last group swelled above 40,000 for the first time.

    Among the couples who tied the knot last year, 18,900 involved grooms marrying for the first time with brides who had been divorced.

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