Divorces Increase After Children Leave the Home

The Institute of Family Studies in Australia has discovered the risk of divorcing after the children leave the home has doubled in a generation. That's usually after 20 years of marriage. The first 10 years of marriage continue to be the delicate period for most Australian couples, but the latest information points to the new "20-year itch."

The institute's director Alan Hayes says couples are staying together until the kids leave home. The number of divorces with kids under the age of 18 still in the home has been declining. There is definitely an element of couples staying together for the kids.

Women instigate 60 percent of the divorces and it shocks most men, according to Mr. Hayes. Middle aged men were more likely to move on and remarry younger women. Divorced women with high professional and educational backgrounds were less likely to remarry. They may create a new relationship, but not live under the same roof, Hayes said. Previously they were under the same roof, but unhappily married.

Australia relationships spokeswoman Mary Jo Morgan said women often become unhappy with their husbands once the kids have moved out. Men have a proverbial mid-life crisis and she thinks women are feeling that also. "Suddenly things you choose to overlook because of child rearing are under scrutiny. Many couples focus on the children, and not the relationship," she said. And although this is a report about Australia, the story may hit a lot closer to home than you might think.