Studies On Co-Habitation And Having Children Before Marriage

North Carolina parents may be interested to know that couples who have a child together before they get married have no higher risk of divorce than couples who marry first. A recent study was conducted by the Council on Contemporary Families, and it focused on data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding women who had their first child between 1985 and 1995 and compared it to date for those who had their first child between 1997 and 2010.

The study showed that in the earlier group, couples who had their first child prior to getting married had a 60 percent greater chance of getting a divorce than couples who waited until after marriage. The second group, however, showed no greater risk of divorce. The lead investigator of the research study stated that there were big societal changes during the two group surveys. Cohabitation may be a more acceptable lifestyle for couples than it was in earlier years.

Between these two periods, statistics show that childbearing outside of marriage went from 17 percent to 35 percent. Of the couples who did not marry, 30 percent separated within five years.

Although cohabiting couples who have a child and eventually marry are divorcing at a slower rate than in the past, marriages continue to fail for a variety of reasons. A parent who is facing the end of a marriage may want to obtain the assistance of a family law attorney in approaching the various divorce legal issues that may be applicable, including child support and custody. In some cases, legal counsel can assist in negotiating a settlement agreement that addresses these matters.