Couples in California who decide to live together before they marry may also be more likely to divorce, according to one study. Researchers found that people who live together before marriage are more likely to face some types of challenges, including those that lead to the end of their marriage. In the first year of marriage, cohabitation is linked with a lower likelihood of divorce. However, researchers found that the risk of divorce rises with each other year. The study analyzed a sample of women aged 44 or younger who were married for the first time between 1970 and 2015 across the country.
Some scholars have said that this effect has declined in later years because living together before marriage has become increasingly common. Others have noted that cultures and societies that frown on divorce are also those that are disapproving of living together before marriage. In other words, the study may not point to happier couples who did not cohabitate but simply to couples with strong beliefs that hinder their willingness to divorce. In surveys of American adults, a majority believe that it is a good idea to live together before marrying.
Other studies noted that around 40 percent of children in the United States are born to parents who aren't married. While this marks a 10 percent increase from 1970's statistics, most of these children aren't born to truly single parents. Instead, their parents are living together in a committed but unmarried relationship.
There are many factors that can lead to divorce, and conflicts over issues like finances and parenting can reveal irreconcilable differences between couples. Spouses who are thinking about divorce can consult with a family law attorney. A lawyer can help people achieve a fair settlement on a range of issues, including child custody and property division.