Old couples record highest divorce rate

October 10, 2006
SEOUL (The Korea Times) -- The divorce rate of old couples is much higher than that of young couples.

According to Seoul Family Court, couples who were married for longer than 26 years showed the highest divorce rate -- 19 percent during the first six months of this year.

Couples who split after being married between 11 to 15 years came next with 16 percent, followed by couples married between 16 to 20 years with 15 percent. The divorce rate of couples married between one to three years, and less than one year was 9 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

As Korean society is aging fast, the divorce rate of old couples is increasing, experts said, adding that women’s improving social and economic status could also explain the trend.

The divorce rate of old couples has continued to increase over the past 10 years.

According to National Statistics Office, the number of divorced men aged over 65 years increased 4.4 times to 2,612 last year, and for the women, the figure jumped 6.7 times to 922. As a rising number of old couples have divorced, the remarriage rate of old people has increased.

The remarriage rate of elders has jumped about two fold compared to 10 years ago. There were 1,573 cases of remarriage of men aged over 65 last year, 1.7 times higher than that of 1995. Four hundred and fourteen women aged over 65 remarried last year, 2.4 times higher than the number in 1995.

The reasons for divorce varied: 39 percent of separated couples cited discrepancy in personalities; 16.8 percent cited drug or alcohol addiction; 12 percent economic problems; 12 percent extra marital affairs; and 6.6 percent conflicts with spouses’ families.

Of the 282 couples who divorced due to discord with spouses’ families, more than half submitted divorce applications in January and February around new year’s holidays, when most families gather to celebrate.