Older couples had highest divorce rate last year

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Older couples had highest divorce rate last year


More married couples are getting divorced after just a couple decades together, according to an almanac published yesterday by the Office of Court Administration at the Supreme Court.

According to the report, the number of divorces last year among couples married 20 years or longer was 32,433, or 28.1 percent, taking up the most of the total 115,292 splits.

The percentage of breakups among older married couples saw a steady increase, greater than 1 percentage point every year since 2009, when that group accounted for 22.8 percent of all divorces. The rate rose to 23.8 percent in 2010, 24.8 percent in 2011 and 26.4 percent in 2012.

When it came to the primary reasons for divorce among those with decades-long unions, irreconcilable differences was cited most, accounting for 47.2 percent, followed by financial problems (12.7 percent), adultery (7.6 percent) and conflicts between family members (7.0 percent).

Divorces among newly married couples followed. The number of cases in which couples married for less than five years split last year stood at 27,299, or 23.7 percent.

Compared to those married for 20 years or longer, divorce among new couples has steadily decreased since 2009, giving the top position for the number of divorces to older married couples in 2012.

The number of divorces among new couples in 2009 was 33,718, which accounted for 27.2 percent of all divorces. The figure has consistently declined since, to 31,528 in 2010; 30,689 in 2011; and 28,204 in 2012.

Less divorce among new couples may likely be attributed to a decrease in the number of marriages in that demographic. Last year, 325,016 couples reported their marriages, 1.3 percent less than the 329,220 in 2012. The figure has been declining since 2012, when 331,543 new couples reported their marriages.

Meanwhile, the number of total divorce cases has increased for three consecutive years, from 114,707 in 2011 to 115,292 last year.

Another factor that tended to influence divorce was children. According to the report, 56,090 couples, or 48.7 percent, did not have any children when they got divorced, while 30,113 couples (26.2 percent) had one child; 24,676 couples (21.4 percent) had two; and only 4,218 couples (3.7 percent) had three children or more.

BY KIM BONG-MOON [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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