Berman & Asbel, LLP

Baby before marriage doesn't increase divorce risk

Pennsylvania readers may be interested to learn that couples who have a baby before marriage are no more likely divorce than couples who get married before having a baby, according to a new study. The research was conducted by the nonprofit group Council on Contemporary Families.

Researchers studied data from the Survey of Family Growth, which was done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to compare the divorce rates of couples who had their first child between 1985 and 1995 and those who had their first child between 1997 and 2010. During the earlier time period, researchers found that couples who had a baby before marrying were 60 percent more likely to divorce than couples who got married before having a child. However, in the later time period, couples had an equal chance of divorcing whether or not they had a baby before getting married.

Overall, the researchers found the percentage of couples who had a child before marriage increased from 17 percent to 35 percent between 1985 and 2010. According to the authors of the study, their results show American society is much more comfortable with the idea of unmarried parents than it was 30 years ago. This means that couples no longer feel pressured into marriage when a pregnancy occurs, and they choose to wait until the time is right.

While this study shows that fewer parents are rushing into marriage, many couples still ultimately divorce. A Pennsylvania parent facing the end of a marriage may wish to consult with an attorney. legal counsel could provide assistance in negotiating a comprehensive settlement agreement that would address child support, property division and other applicable issues.

Source: USA Today, "Baby before marriage doesn't increase divorce risk, study says," Mary Bowerman, Sept. 16, 2015

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