Does Cohabitation Before Marriage Cause Divorce? Short Answer: No

It is inevitable that people wonder how and why their marriage soured. Couples who lived together prior to marriage can breathe a sigh of relief—it did not cause your divorce. 

In recent decades, the rate of cohabitation in the United States has risen approximately 900 percent. A recent study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family looked at the idea that living together prior to marriage is a risk factor for divorce. 

Using data from the National Survey of Family Growth, the research reviewed data from several thousand women from years, 1995, 2002 and 2006 through 2010. Some key points of the study include: 

  • Living together is now common. About 70 percent of women currently aged 30 to 34 have lived with an unmarried male partner.
  • Approximately two-thirds of newly married couples lived together for an average of 31 months prior to marriage.
  • Cohabitation is not a risk factor for divorce. The study found couples who live together, or marry, at younger ages are equally likely to divorce. The presence of a marriage license is not a factor, but age and maturity are.
  • The study suggests couples who wait until after age 23 to marry or live together have a greater likelihood of long-term relational success. 

Study author Professor Arielle Kuperberg, of the University of North Carolina, notes younger couples who marry or live together are less emotionally and financial stable. 

Couples who settle down younger may be less likely to continue their education. Previous studies suggest lower levels of education are associated with higher rates of divorce. 

Everyone questions their reasons for marrying—and for their divorce. While living together may bring a couple closer, it does not ultimately cause their divorce. 

When you have questions about divorce in New York, talk with Bryan L. Salamone and Associates, P.C. for skilled legal advice.

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