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The 12-month itch? 1 in 20 divorce within first year of marriage

Tahmina Mannan
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Tahmina Mannan

One in 20 divorcees admit to ending their marriage after less than 12 months, leading to both emotional and financial complications, a study has found.

According to, while the average duration of a marriage before divorce is 14 years, 5% of couples throw in the towel after less than a year.

One reason is a spike in couples who walk down the aisle with a partner they don’t actually know that well.

One in seven (14%) people polled had been in a relationship with their future spouse for less than a year before getting married, and only 50% of couples had lived together before tying the knot.

These ‘starter marriages’ – first-time marriages that seemingly act as a trial run for lasting, more fulfilling relationships – are becoming something of a celebrity trend, with an array of celebrities calling it quits before the year is out, the report said.

Celebs include Kim Kardashian who filed for divorce just 72 days after marrying Kris Humphries in 2011 and Britney Spears was married to childhood friend Jason Alexander for less than 55 hours.

However, said exiting a marriage can have financial as well as emotional complications, as couples are left to split assets and funds that they once pooled.

According to the research, more than four in ten (41%) newlyweds will buy a house together, with the same number (41%) opening a joint bank account with their new spouse.

One in five people (22%) take out life insurance upon getting married, as they plan for the future with their new husband or wife.

Matt Lloyd, head of life insurance at, said: “With many marriages now unfortunately ending in divorce, difficult conversations around finances are going to be unavoidable. However, people should not assume that because they’ve been divorced, their ex is no longer entitled to a share of any of their assets or funds.

“In the case of life insurance, if you’ve named beneficiaries on your policy and not reviewed or updated it recently the pay-out could go to the wrong person – potentially an ex-spouse – regardless of how long you were married for or how long ago it might have been.

“It’s always a good idea to review your beneficiaries with major life changes such as marriage or divorce. As your circumstances change, so might your insurance requirements.”