Having a baby before marriage no longer raises risk of divorce

Pennsylvania couples might not know about a new study that looked at families who had children before and after getting married. The Council on Contemporary Families reviewed data previously compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and found that having a baby before marriage did not result in divorce as frequently as it did in the past.

When looking at data about women who had their first child between 1985 and 1995, researchers found that couples who got married after having a baby were 60 percent more likely to get divorced compared to couples who waited to have a child after marriage. This could be due to the stigma of having a child out of wedlock, which has lessened with time. Among women who gave birth between 1997 and 2010, the risk of divorce did not rise if a couple had a baby before marriage.

The CDC data may indicate that couples no longer feel pressure to marry if they have a baby like they might have in the past. Couples might move in together if having a child but wait to get married, as now 35 percent of women had a child before marriage compared to 17 percent in the past. There seems to be a limit on how long a couple can live together without marrying, though, as 30 percent of couples who lived together and had a child separated within five years if they did not get married.

Regardless of the circumstances, parents have a lot of divorce legal issues to deal with when facing the end of a marriage. A person who is in this situation may want to meet with a family law attorney to discuss custody, support and other applicable matters.

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