In Ohio, unmarried couples often face challenges that would not distinguish them from married or recently divorced spouses. These issues can include child custody battles, shared parenting or child support. However, these couples may be interested to note that a certain lifestyle--living together before marriage--does not appear to have an effect on a couple's likelihood to divorce.
A new study on marriage calls into questions the traditional notion that couples that cohabitate before marriage are likely to have less successful marriages than those that do not. According to the co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, one reason living together prior to marriage appears to be less significant is that more and more people are doing it.
The research, which included a survey of 22,000 married men and women, looked for trends in first marriages. Among the couples interviewed for the report, the marriages of those who lived together before marrying did not last any less time than couples that waited to live together until after they were married. Another finding of the study is that nearly half of all first marriages break up within 20 years.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted the study, interviewed men and women between 15 and 44, about half of whom were married. One interesting thing that the research revealed was that while living together in and of itself did not appear to have an impact on the success of a marriage, whether or not the couple was engaged while they lived together did have an effect. According to the study, those who live together while engaged are likely to have longer marriages than those who live together before becoming engaged.
Source: Columbia Daily Tribune, "Cohabitation not signal for divorce," April 4, 2012.