10/05/2006, 00.00
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Increase in divorce rate among long married couples

by Theresa Kim Hwa-young

The divorce rate is rising among people with more than 26 years of marriage behind them: they account for 19% of the total number of cases in the first six months of 2006. Some analysts have said the reason for this phenomenon could be found in an evolving society that seeks to be ever more similar to its western counterpart.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – South Korean society is sounding a new alarm: this year too, the divorce rate among couples married for more than 26 years has increased. According to data of the Family Court in Seoul, divorces in this bracket accounted for 19% of the total rate in the first six months of 2006.

Couples who divorced after being married between 11 to 15 years accounted for 16%, followed by couples married between 16 to 20 years with 15%. The divorce rate of newly married couples remained 4% and it was 9% among those married between one to three years.

The divorce rate of couples who have been married for a long time has continued to increase over the past 10 years. According to the National Statistics Office, the number of divorced men aged over 65 increased by 4.4%, and for women, the figure increased by 6.7%.

Some analysts say the reasons prompting people to decide to break up their marital relationship should be sought "in an evolving society, that seeks to be ever more similar to western society but without embracing its values".

The reasons for divorce varied: 39% cited "discrepancy in personalities"; 16.8% cited drug or alcohol addiction.

As the age of divorced people climbs, the remarriage rate has increased too. In 2005 there were more than 2,000 marriages between men and women aged more than 65.

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