Instant Improver

Revealed: the best age to get married if you want to avoid divorce

"Til death do us part. Or we get bored. Or someone better comes along. Or one of us starts behaving completely outrageously."

The old wedding vows don't quite mean what they used to these days - statistics from 2012 suggest that 42 percent of marriages in the UK are bound to end in divorce.

But it seems that you have a different chance of success or failure depending on the age at which you take the plunge - and the trend isn't what you'd expect.

New research published by the Institute of Family Studies, studying US data collected between 2006 and 2010, shows that the risk of divorce declines for those who wait until their late 20s before getting married - but then begins to increase again after the age of 32. In the words of the study, "prior to age 32 or so, each additional year of age at marriage reduces the odds of divorce by 11 percent. However, after that the odds of divorce increase by 5 percent per year."

While it's to be expected that getting married earlier is more 'risky' - if nothing else, you've got more years to get through, even without taking into consideration emotional immaturity and the changing outlooks, dreams and hopes which alter most rapidly through your twenties - the post-32 trend is a new phenomenon which was absent from data taken in 1995.

Professor Nicholas Wolfinger of the University of Utah who led the research suggested that, "They [those aged 32 or above] delay marriage, often because they can’t find anyone willing to marry them. When they do tie the knot, their marriages are automatically at high risk for divorce. More generally, perhaps people who marry later face a pool of potential spouses that has been winnowed down to exclude the individuals most predisposed to succeed at matrimony."

Well that's a comforting thought for those of us hitting 33 and over isn't it? Thanks Nick.

But it's a complex situation - head to the study to see further possible explanations for the effect.

Meanwhile, if you want that 'happy ever after' thing, it looks like you'd be best off grabbing the nearest person to you on your 29th birthday.