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Cohabitating North Carolina Couples Not More at Risk for Divorce

Wedding Cake Topper.jpgAccording to a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor, nearly half of all first marriages break up within 20 years. Some people attempt to beat the odds by testing out their relationship by living together prior to marriage. But does that actual help things or only speed along the relationship’s inevitable demise?

A new study, part of a larger marriage survey of 22,000 men and women, suggests that living together is not the kiss of death it once was thought to be. In years past, living together was a good signal regarding the poor health of an eventual relationship. The study author said that now living together prior to marriage is not as big of predictor of divorce as it used to be.

The trend towards cohabitation has been on the rise for decades. In the 1960s only about 10% of couples moved in together first. Among those they were more likely to end up divorced. Today, about 60% of couples live together before they first marry.

“It’s so common, it’s not surprising it no longer negatively affects marital stability,” said Wendy Manning, co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

The recent study by the Centers for Disease Control happily found that those who were engaged and living together before their wedding were about as likely to have marriages that lasted 15 years as couples who had not lived together prior to marriage.

But how about those who were living together but weren’t engaged? The new study found that marriage was less likely to survive the 10 and 15-year mark among this subgroup. These findings echoed studies from years past.


The numbers are clear: for women, there was about a 60% likelihood a marriage would survive 15 years if the couple either had not lived together before the wedding or were engaged while they were sharing the same living space. However the number drops if no firm marriage commitment was made while the couple was living together, falling to 53% for surviving to 15 years.

The reasons for this difference are varied and could include laxer attitude regarding commitment, family histories of divorce and lower education levels.

If you find yourself facing questions regarding divorce then you need the help of an experienced Charlotte family law attorney who can help guide you through the confusing process.

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