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Baby Before Marriage: Are You Doomed to Divorce?

 Posted on September 22, 2015 in Divorce

b2ap3_thumbnail_baby-divorce-cohabitation.jpgHaving a baby before marriage can be tricky. In the past, many couples felt rushed to wed if they discovered they had an unexpected baby on the way. Society’s stigmas on child birth before marriage, or even cohabitation before marriage, for that matter, led many couples to partake in a so-called “shotgun” wedding. While these rushed marriages may have prevented society’s judgements, they often meant disaster for the married couple. In modern times, many of the stigmas of children before marriage have disappeared. Many couples are choosing to cohabitate long before getting married, and quite a few are having babies before marriage as well. Are parents who have a baby before marriage still doomed to end up divorcing in 2015?

A More Accepting Society

We have seen many aspects of marriage, family life, and child raising change over the past decade. By and large, Americans have become far more understanding and accepting of alternative families, cohabitation before marriage and children out of wedlock. Marriage laws across the country have been rewritten or overturned, leaving the United States a much more open and accepting place. As a shift in opinions and ideals change, it is no surprise that cohabitation and birth before marriage are on the rise. People are simply more comfortable doing what is best for their life, and spend much less time worrying about the judgment of society.

No Longer Predestined for Divorce

A recent study performed by a non-profit, American group called the Council on Contemporary Families, studied divorce rates in couples who marry after having a child. They analyzed two different test groups. The first, couples who had their first baby anytime between 1985 and 1995, and the second, couples who gave birth sometime between 1997 and 2010. The study found that in the earlier time frame group, couples who had their child first and then married were 60 percent more likely to end in divorce than couples who married and then had children.

In ten years, however, the shift is extremely apparent and drastic. The study found that the later test group showed no higher risk of divorce at all for couples who marry after having a child versus the opposite. Now, thanks to diminished stigma around childbirth out of wedlock, couples who marry after having a baby are much more likely to be doing it for all the right reasons, thus leading to more and more couples staying together.

In the past ten years, the number of couples having children prior to marriage has doubled. This shows a rising comfort level in parents, who now feel more comfortable raising children out of wedlock and cohabiting. The only group that did show a higher risk for separation were those that lived together but never ended up marrying. The study found that nearly 30 percent of couples who lived together but never married ended up separating within five years. That is an alarming statistic, considering the important role a stable household plays on a child’s growth and development. The study did take into account many socio-demographic factors, and cite those as possible reasons for the high percentage of cohabiting couple separation. Cohabiting couples generally have lower income and education levels than married couples, and it is possible that those disadvantages are a cause of separation.

No matter your situation, going through a divorce is a life changing, emotional process. Having the help of a qualified Naperville divorce attorney can be vital. Contact the Pesce Law Group today at 630-352-2240 to learn more today.


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