New study affirms link between cohabitation and divorce

Most people in California likely view couples living together before marriage as normal and even a good idea. Survey results in one report indicated that 65 percent of Americans approve of cohabitation, but researchers continue to identify living together prior to marriage as a risk for divorce.

Similar to previous studies, this recent study about cohabitation and divorce also found a higher divorce rate among couples who lived together first. The researchers analyzed data collected from women 44 years or younger who entered first marriages between 1970 and 2015. Although cohabitating couples had lower divorce rates during their first year of marriage, they faced a higher risk of divorce every year thereafter compared to people who had not lived together before marriage.

A report that examined the 10 percent increase in births to unmarried mothers since 1970 found that the bulk of these births arose from cohabitating couples instead of single mothers. Children born to single mothers might eventually become part of families formed by cohabitating or married parents. These parental relationships that form after the birth of children tend to experience more instability than marriages established prior to childbearing.

Many factors could undermine a relationship and cause a person to seek a divorce. When a person realizes that a marriage cannot continue, the advice of a family law attorney may help prepare the person for the next steps. In addition to providing information about necessary court filings, an attorney may strive to protect a person from an unfair divorce settlement or violation of parental rights. With legal support, a person might maintain interests during negotiations with the former partner. An attorney may be able to propose compromises that help the person create an acceptable child custody agreement and equitable division of property.

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