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Cohabitation may make divorce more likely

According to the results of a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, couples who move in together prior to marrying are at a higher risk of divorce later. Georgia couples might want to be aware of the premarital cohabitation effect, which suggests that couples who live together before marriage have lower odds of divorce during the first year but increased odds of divorce every year after that.

The authors of the study used data from the National Surveys of Family Growth, examining 216,455 couple years to make predictions about dissolution of marriage. Some studies and scholarly papers suggested that the premarital cohabitation effect had disappeared in recent years. According to other researchers who work with the Institute for Family Studies, those who have argued the effect disappeared were biased against long-term effects in favor of the short term.

The data from NSFG included a sample of U.S. women who were 44 years old or younger and in their first marriages between 1970 and 2015. The risk of divorce was increased further for people who had lived with other partners without marrying them. Other data, published by the U.N. Population Fund, indicates that roughly 40 percent of babies born in the U.S. are born out of wedlock, which represents a 10 percent increase since 1970.

For people in Georgia who are considering divorce, a lawyer may be able to help. A lawyer with experience in divorce law might analyze the couple's circumstances and help the client distinguish marital and separate property or develop a strategy to negotiate property division. A lawyer might help during alimony or spousal support hearings or represent the client during child custody proceedings. He or she may also draft and file the petition to initiate the divorce.

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