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High-school sweethearts may be happy but are less likely to last

With the Republican National Convention having recently ended, the spotlight has been cast on the marriage between Ann and Mitt Romney. The couple met during high school and married as Ann was preparing to turn 20 years old. While examining their history, some experts have brought up the question of whether it is smart to marry a high-school sweetheart. There is data supporting both sides but one thing is for sure: Long-term marriages that begin in high school and end later will likely result in a high-asset divorce.

Studies conducted by eHarmony suggest that individuals who meet their spouses during school are more likely to have satisfying marriages than those who meet at bars or through shared acquaintances including family and friends. The study asked couples to rate their happiness using the Couples Satisfaction Index and then extrapolated trends from the results.

Other studies have found that marrying during a person's teenage years increases the likelihood of divorce. Individuals who chose to marry at this point in their lives had a 54 percent chance of staying married for a decade. Between the ages of 20 and 24, marrying couples had a 69 percent chance of lasting 10 years. The rate of marriages that last a decade is even higher in couples that wait until they are 25 years old. That rate is 78 percent.

According to statistics, the average bride in 1970 was 21 years old. Now, the average bride is 26 years old. Many experts have said that the decrease in divorces since then is because of this shift.

Regardless of age and studies, couples that choose to marry should be wary of their assets, especially if they are wealthy, have been married for a long period of time, or have certain items that they want to keep in the event of a divorce. High-asset divorces can cause major rifts to occur between spouses and can be streamlined through the implementation of a prenuptial agreement.

Source: Slate, "Should You Marry Your High-School Sweetheart?" Brian Palmer, Aug. 29, 2012

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