Does Living Together First Increase a Couple’s Divorce Risk?

In the past five decades, the number of couples living together without a marriage license has increased by 900 percent. In 2012, there were almost eight million couples living together, compared to just under three million in 1996. A recent studyhas concluded that living together before marriage – at least after reaching the age of 23 years old – may not the high-risk divorce factor that many people have long believed.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Council on Contemporary Families using eleven years of data collected from US National Surveys of Family Growth. The team analyzed information that was gathered from 7,000 survey participants who were married – including those who were later divorced.

In the past, other studies have concluded that living together before marriage may put a couple at a higher risk for divorce. Other marriage studies have found that the younger a couple gets married, the higher the risk is for divorce. Lead researcher Arielle Kuperberg wondered if this same factor might also apply to couples who decide to cohabitate first before marrying, something that many of the other studies never accounted for.

Kuperberg and her team found that, statistically, those couples who lived together at an earlier age had a higher divorce risk compared to those who waited. For those who began living together at the age of 18, the divorce rate was 60 percent. However, just waiting five years – to at least 23 years of age – decreased the divorce rate by half.

“For so long, the link between cohabitation and divorce was one of these great mysteries in research,” Kuperberg says. “What I found was that it was the age you settled down with someone, not whether you had a marriage license, that was the biggest indicator of a relationship’s future success.”

If you are considering a divorce, there are many issues that may need to be decided, including child custody, property and asset division, and spousal support. Contact an experienced Orland Park divorce attorney to find out what legal options you may have. Call the attorneys at Kezy & Associates at 708-518-8200 today for a free consultation.