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Cohabitation—Better for Marriage or Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

Not so many years ago, in an American society that was arguably much more conservative than that of today, cohabitation before marriage was considered a recipe for marriage disaster. Despite the fact that the rate of cohabitation before marriage has steadily increased in recent decades, the idea that cohabitation before marriage can directly result in divorce is still prevalent today. 

According to an Op-Ed published in the New York Times, "cohabitation in the United States has increased by more than 1,500 percent in the past half century. In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. Now the number is more than 7.5 million." In more than half of all modern American marriages, the couple has lived together before the wedding.

In 2001 the National Marriage Project conducted a survey that found that two-thirds of 20-somethings surveyed believed that "moving in together before marriage was a good way to avoid divorce." Yet according to the Times, "couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages—and more likely to divorce—than couples who do not."

The main reason that cohabitation before marriage could end in divorce is that many couples "slide into" cohabitation rather than make a conscious decision about what it means to live together. This can result in being cornered into a marriage, rather than the marriage evolving organically.

And yet Pam Smock, Director of the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan, told The Daily Beast that "cohabitation may actually be keeping divorce rates steady by weeding out couples who would have been more likely to get divorced had they not lived together and realized they weren’t compatible."

If you or someone you know is considering divorce because of rushed marriage pushed along by cohabitation—or because of the lack thereof—don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois divorce attorney today. We have office is in both Lombard, Illinois and Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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