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When a young couple in love walks down the aisle it's more than likely they believe their relationship will last forever.

But sadly, in Australia more than 40 per cent of all divorces happen before the couple makes it to their 10th wedding anniversary – and overall divorce rates are highest within the 25 to 34 year age group (ABS 2009).

These short-term marriages along with high divorce rates among younger Australians could be part of a world-wide trend that many people are calling 'starter marriages'.

Starter marriages generally end within the first five years, with couples often calling it quits before they have children. Many Hollywood celebrities are notorious for their short-term marriages, and some young Australians may also be falling into the same trap.

So why can't so many young marriages stand the test of time, and what should be done when the couple decides to go their separate ways?

The first thing to remember is that relationships are very complex and the reasons why people get married and divorced are many and varied.

Young couples that separate usually don't have children or much property, so it can tend to be easier for them to simply walk away when they're having problems.

Often times, young marriages are not taken seriously by family and friends, and this may mean the youthful couple feels less supported and more likely to leave the relationship.

Many people in this modern society simply don't consider marriage as a lifelong commitment, and these attitudes are revealing themselves in patterns of marriage and divorce in Australia.

If a young couple is heading for divorce, they should make sure they leave no strings attached. This means separating everything, including bank accounts, mortgages, assets and furniture.

Going through a separation can be an upsetting and complicated experience, so it's usually best to consult a lawyer to help navigate the process.

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