In the past, research showed that cohabitating couples who had a baby prior to getting married consistently faced a higher divorce rate than those who married first and had a baby later. In fact, a study by the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) claims that there was no increased risk of divorce for those who chose to marry first, as opposed to those who chose to have a baby first and then get married.
The study analyzed data from couples who had their first child between 1985 and 1995 and those who did so between 1997 and 2010. Researchers found that unmarried couples in the first group were 60% more likely to divorce than those couples who married before having their first child. Only 10 years later, however, this difference disappeared. Couples from the second group who remained unmarried before the birth of their first child were no more likely to divorce than those who were married first.
Why is This the Case?
Researchers attribute this drastic change in statistics to a number of different factors. On the whole, American society, as well as that of other industrialized countries, is more accepting of unmarried couples who live together. These days, there is little societal pressure to immediately marry if a pregnancy occurs. Children born of out wedlock are commonplace in most areas of the country, and the stigmas that were attached to unmarried couples sharing a household and children born outside of marriage no longer really exist. Rather, couples who share a child take their time in deciding whether and when they will marry.
In fact, the only group who had a significantly higher chance of splitting up after their first child was comprised of those couples who never married. Thirty percent of those cohabitating couples who never married split up within five years. However, this statistic may have been skewed by the fact that cohabitating couples tend to have less income and education that those who marry, which may contribute to an eventual split.
Whether parents are married or not, however, a separation is likely to increase the need for court orders regarding custody, visitation, and child support. These options are equally available to children born during marriages and those who are not. While some separations occur amicably, and parents are able to compromise and reach an agreement on these important issues, others are much more complex, and may require extensive litigation.
It is in these situations that an experienced Tampa family law attorney can be most helpful to you. When you are going through the emotional struggle that often accompanies a bitter break-up, the last thing you need is to try and navigate the minefield of child custody and visitation on your own. This is where we can be of assistance to you. Contact the Tampa family and divorce lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+