Is Living Together Before Marriage a Predictor of Divorce?

 Posted on December 01, 2020 in Cohabitation

St. Charles IL divorce attorneyAcross the country, thousands of unmarried but committed couples have made the decision to move in together. This reality is undoubtedly a reflection of changing social mores, but some research suggests that couples who live together before marriage may have a greater chance of getting divorced than those who wait to live together until after their wedding.

Research on Cohabitation and Marital Satisfaction

One recent study surveyed over 1,000 married people between the ages of 18 and 34 to gain insight into the relationship between cohabitation and marital satisfaction. All participants had been married for ten years or less. Some of the survey questions included:

  • What was the dedication that each spouse had to each other?

  • How satisfied were they in the relationship?

  • What was the level of sexual satisfaction in the marriage?

  • What was the level of negative communication between the couple?

  • Have either the participant or their spouse ever considered getting divorced?

Of those surveyed, 43 percent said they lived together before getting engaged. Another 16 percent only moved in together after they were engaged, and 40 percent of participants said they did not live with their spouse before they were married.

Possible Predictors of Divorce

For couples who had moved in together before becoming engaged or married, the rate of marital dissatisfaction was much higher than those couples who had not lived together. Additionally, almost 20 percent of survey participants who had lived with their spouse before marriage said they had considered divorce, while only 10 percent of participants who had not cohabited with their spouse had considered leaving the marriage.   

The reasons people decide to get married when they are already living together may play a role in why they eventually split up. According to the lead researcher of the study, couples may decide to marry not because they are truly committed to a future together, but because it seems like a natural step after already living together. In these cases, the marriage may not be built on a strong foundation.

The reasons people decide to cohabit in the first place may also factor into the success of the relationship. In the survey, 60 percent of people said they moved in together in order to spend more time together, 19 percent cited financial reasons, and 14 percent said they wanted to “test the relationship out” to see how it would be if they married. The study showed that respondents who mentioned testing the relationship as their primary reason were more likely to experience negative communication with their partner.

Contact a St. Charles Family Law Attorney

Whatever the reasons for your marital conflict, the attorneys at Goostree Law Group can help if you decide that a divorce is the right decision. For more information, contact an experienced Kane County family lawyer at 630-584-4800 for a free consultation today.





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