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Study finds cohabitation an indicator for divorce

Living together prior to marriage has become a normal arrangement for couples across Maryland and the United States, but a study has shown that this practice is linked to higher rates of divorce over time. The Journal of Marriage and Family has published a study called "Cohabitation Experience and Cohabitation's Association With Marital Dissolution" that examined over 200,000 years of combined marriage data in six waves from the National Surveys of Family Growth.

In this data, the researchers focused on divorce rates across time compared to cohabitation practices. The study utilized data from 1970 through 2015, and its sample was nationally representative of first marriages in women below the age of 45.

The findings of this study concluded that couples who cohabitate prior to marriage were less likely to seek a divorce within the first year of marriage, but the odds for a separation increased with each subsequent year of marriage. The divorce rate increased further for individuals who had cohabitated with previous partners prior to the marriage.

Although the study was unable to pinpoint the exact cause for this effect, the belief is that couples who marry prior to living together find themselves faced with a shorter, yet more intense, duration of difficulty in learning to live with one another. This is as opposed to couples who cohabitated and found themselves facing a longer, yet less intense, difficulty duration in adjusting to married life.

Divorce can be a complicated and complex legal process, even in cases where a separation is amicable. In situations where tensions arise over shared property and financial assets, the problems faced by divorcing couples can multiply. As a result, most people turn to attorneys who specialize in family law to assure the most equitable outcome in divorce proceedings. A divorce attorney generally handles the entire legal process in order to bring about a fair resolution to the end of a marriage.

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