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Cohabiting prior to marriage may affect divorce rates

Cohabiting, which is living together as a couple before tying the knot, appears to be growing in popularity in America. Roughly 70 percent of unmarried couples in Massachusetts and across the country may be living together, and one researcher claims that, in some instances, this may lead to divorce. In fact, the professor that conducted the study asserts that individuals often consider both cohabiting and divorce simultaneously.

For those couples who do choose to cohabit, the living situation lasts for about 22 months. However, including those that do last longer, 40 percent of those couples were married within the first three years of living together. However, more than one study has demonstrated that couples who cohabited before marriage are at a slightly increased risk of divorcing.

One researcher believes that this increased risk may mainly lie with those who did not actually intend to move in together. For example, some couples may spend one night a week together, then gradually move up to spending every night of the week together. In this situation, these couples may not have intended to cohabit at all, and by extension, marriage may have occurred as part of a natural order of events of sorts.

Other studies have suggested that, since younger couples in general tend to divorce, the risk for divorce after cohabiting before marriage might not be entirely accurate, especially after the results were adjusted to reflect different age groups. However, Massachusetts couples that lived together and combined their assets prior to marrying and subsequently divorcing might face additional questions regarding those assets and their distribution. When an agreement cannot be reached between the couple, a third-party mediator can help determine a more agreeable settlement between the two parties.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Everything You Want to Know About Living Together Before Marriage (But Are Too Afraid To Ask)", Rebecca Adams, July 23, 2014

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