Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Utah couples get married at youngest age in nation, study shows

Times have changed for Salt Lake City residents, in many different aspects of life. For example, family dynamics are much different now than they were decades ago. These different dynamics can lead to differences in the court system as well, as family law cases depend upon the circumstances involved in each case.

A good example of this is with the age people decide to get married. Decades ago, the cultural norm was for individuals to get married at a much younger age. In 1960, women were married, on average, at the age of 20, while men got married at the age of 22. Those ages have now moved back, as women get married at age 27 on average, while men get married at the age of 29. In Utah, however, people get married at younger ages than in any other state in the country; the average age for men getting who marry is 26, while women in Utah get married at an average age of 24.

The study that produced these numbers also examined the impact of getting married at a certain age on the end of a marriage. According to the study, couples who got married at a young age were more likely to divorce. Experts pointed to a number of factors in explaining why this is the case. On the other hand, while marriages in the late 20s showed lower levels of divorce, the divorce rate began to increase again for marriages above the age of 32

The couple's age at the time of marriage can also raise certain divorce legal issues. For instance, older couples might have accumulated more assets prior to becoming married, which causes some to enter into premarital agreements as to the division of assets. In the absence of such agreements, there can be claims of sole ownership over the assets by the spouse who owned the assets before the marriage.

On the other hand, those who get married at a young age may be more dependent on one another over the years, such as having one spouse work while the other attends college. Accordingly, alimony and related issues can be larger issues to address in those marriages. Ultimately, each case will have different legal issues involved, but the age of the couple could make a difference when it comes to dealing with those issues during divorce.

Source: The Utah Statesman, "Best age to get married is above Utah average, according to experts," Jackson Murphy, Oct. 1, 2015

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