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Divorce rate after 10 years static
The divorce rate for couples after they have been married 10 years or more is the same as it was in the 1970s, 80s, 90s and 2000s, according to a new report.
A couple who married in 2001 have the same chance of getting divorced after 10 or more years as a couple who married in 1971, the study by think tank The Marriage Foundation discovered.
One in five couples are divorced after 10 years, and the likelihood of divorce shrinks with each decade, the research found. Just 2% of weddings end in divorce after 30 years, with divorce rates after 40 years even rarer - fewer than 0.5% of couples divorce after being married 40 years or more.
Harry Benson, communications director at The Marriage Foundation, said: "All the change in divorce rates since the 1960s has occurred during the first 10 years of marriage. After 10 years of marriage, there's the same chance a couple who marry in 2013 will keep the vow 'till death us do part' as there was 40 years ago."
Half of all divorces currently take place during the first decade of marriage. The divorce rate during the first 10 years has fallen in recent years from a peak in 1993.
Mr Benson said: "Changes in divorce rates during the first 10 years reflect the care we take in forming our relationship in the first place. Couples who marry today are clearly making better choices, with fewer marriages breaking down in the very early years than in the 1990s and early 2000s."
Within the first decade of marriage, the highest number of divorces occurs between three and six years, debunking the myth of the "seven year itch".
Mr Benson said: "A couple who tie the knot on Valentine's Day this year have a 39% chance of divorcing during their lifetime. The so-called silver surfers - couples divorcing in their twilight years after many decades of marriage - is greatly overhyped and not supported by statistical evidence.
"Our research reveals that if a married couple survive the first 10 years of marriage, their risk of divorce is the same as it has been in the previous four decades."
The Foundation seeks to improve public understanding of marriage and reduce the numbers of people drawn into the family justice system - some 500,000 children and adults each year.