Divorce rate not greater for having kids before marriage

Pennsylvania residents have probably heard that for years, having a baby before marriage meant that couples were more likely to later divorce. A recent study demonstrates that this trend is no longer an issue, however. Couples who have babies before getting married are now no more likely than others to eventually divorce.

According to the Council on Contemporary Families, people who had children between 1985 and 1995 and then later married had a 60 percent greater likelihood of divorcing than couples who did not have children first. The researchers then looked at couples in a similar family situation between 1997 and 2010, and those couples did not have any greater risk of divorce.

The researchers believe the change in divorce rates is largely due to the fact that having a child before marriage has lost a lot of stigma in society. This means that fewer people rush into marriage just because a woman becomes pregnant. At the same time, the percentage of couples who have babies outside of marriage has doubled to 35 percent. In contrast to couples who later married after having children, people who live together without marrying separate at a rate of 30 percent within five years.

While the statistics are good news, many couples still do end up divorcing. When a parent with young children is facing the end of a marriage, the process will necessarily involve addressing child-related issues, such as custody and visitation. Emotions often run high in divorce cases, especially when children are involved. People may benefit by seeking the help of a family law attorney who may be better able to negotiate an agreement that addresses parenting time as well as property division matters. It is possible that some cases may be able to be resolved through mediation rather than having to go to court and litigate these issues.

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