Is living together a precursor to divorce?

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, March 12, 2014.

Because of the high incidence of divorce in this country, there has been a great deal of research devoted to the issue of whether there are any useful indicators or predictors of divorce.

Since divorce is often considered a social ill, especially with regard to children, creating the need for child custody agreements, child support all of the other problems that develop after a divorce, an unstated premise behind much of this research is the hope of discovering warning signs that can be used to educate individuals and prevent divorce.

Similarly, concern has been raised over the increasing tendency of cohabitation before marriage. Previous research had shown an apparent connection between cohabitation and divorce. It appeared that cohabitation led to divorce, and many experts have been worried that this is a precursor to a jump in divorce rates.

This has not happened, and social scientists have been troubled by the disjunction between the apparent prediction and differing results. According to research this week, the explanation is that previous research failed to control for the age of the couple when the began cohabitation.

Unsurprisingly, maturity of a couple is significant to the long-term survival of the relationship. The new research indicates that young, immature couples are more likely to break up, whether married or not.

Youth, lack of economic certainty and inexperience in choosing a partner all contribute to the higher rate of failure for younger couples.

So, if you lived together before you were married, that factor alone is not a predictor that your marriage is destined to wind up in a St. Charles family court.

Source:, “Best predictor of divorce? Age when couples cohabit, study says,” Stephanie Hanes, The Christian Science Monitor, March 10, 2014

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