Couples marrying today are least likely to divorce since 1960s

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Couples tying the knot today are at far lower risk of getting a divorce later on when compared to their parents, new research has found.

The study by the Marriage Foundation found that only 35 per cent of marriages today are likely to end in divorce in the future. 

This is the lowest level of risk since 1963, when the lifetime divorce risk for couples marrying was 28 per cent. 

It is considerably lower than for couples who married between 1986 and 1989, when the lifetime divorce risk peaked at 44 per cent. 

The Marriage Foundation calculated the divorce rates using figures from the Office for National Statistics. 

The figures were released to coincide with the start of National Marriage Week, which runs until Sunday. 

Harry Benson, research director at the Marriage Foundation, said the difference in divorce risk between now and previous generations was down to changes in social expectations around marriage. 

"The huge fall in lifetime divorce risk shows that the current generation of newlyweds is far more serious about their commitment than their parents were," he said.

"Couples who married in the 1980s and 1990s often did so because social and family pressure encouraged fragile cohabitees to take the next step before they were ready. That pressure to marry has now disappeared.

"The result is that today's marriages are as strong as their grandparents were. But while marriage is on an upward trajectory, cohabitation remains as unstable and risky as ever.

"The next challenge is how to encourage couples who don't marry to become similarly intentional."

(Marriage Foundation)

Sir Paul Coleridge, founder of Marriage Foundation and former high court judge, said the findings should inform government policy.

"At the start of Marriage Week 2019, it is really heartening to have such clear evidence that divorce rates have been falling steadily and are now stable," he said.

"The same is true of marriage rates. The single most important factor in a child's healthy development is the stable relationship of the parents. Informal cohabitation will never offer the same level of family stability as a committed relationship supported by a legal arrangement i.e. marriage. Cohabitation failure rates are three times higher.

"If only governments could wake up to this evidence which year on year stares them in the face and unequivocally and fearlessly advocate the advantages of marriage a great many of the familiar clich├ęd social problems we read about would decline.

"Children, teenagers and the least well off would be the main beneficiaries but we would in fact all benefit."