For many years, relationship studies suggested that couples who moved in together prior to getting married were more likely to get divorced than those who waited until after the wedding. While there may have been some truth to those numbers, they now seem to be moving in the opposite direction. Today, more couples than ever are cohabitating prior to marriage, yet the divorce rate is on the decline, and sociologists think that that the two may be related.
A New Way to Look at Love
The generation known as the Millennials is comprised of those born roughly between the early 1980s and the late 1990s. A large number of Millennials are now in their late 20s and early 30s, and the way in which they, as a group, are approaching committed relationships much differently than their predecessors. Young people, in general, are waiting longer to get married, but they are much more likely to move in with a romantic partner than ever before.
In the late 60s and early 70s, about 11 percent of women entering their first marriage had cohabitated with a partner. By 2009, the number had jumped to 66 percent. The practice has become so common that some sociologists have begun referring to it as “part of the pathway toward marriage.”
The Effects on Divorce
While cohabitation has been seen as a practice marriage of sorts, there is another important factor to consider. Most of the studies that have looked at cohabitation and divorce have focused primarily on those who actually have gotten married. Many of them fail to address the couples who realize in the course of living together that marriage would not be in their best interests. Moving in together, it seems, allows a couple with less compatibility to realize their differences prior to getting married, thus preventing an eventual divorce.
Age Matters Too
New research also suggests that previous studies on cohabitation may be been drawing their conclusions based on misinterpreted data. Dr. Arielle Kuperberg, an associate professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, says that the earlier research linking cohabitation and divorce may have left out the impact of the age of the cohabitating parties. It seems that those who enter their first committed union—either a marriage or cohabitation—at a younger age are more likely to end up divorced than their older counterparts.
Contact an Attorney
Whether you cohabitated with your partner prior to marriage or not, divorce can be a complicated process. For assistance with your case, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. Call 630-377-7770 for a free initial consultation with Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today.