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Cohabitation facts involving marriage and divorce

In 2019, cohabitation, marriage and divorce are all closely linked. People are more likely to cohabit before getting married these days, as the social stigma has shifted. Young couples used to feel like they had to live separately or get married, but they now increasingly decide to live together before the marriage.

It's important to know how this can impact their relationships. With that in mind, here are a few key facts of which all couples need to be aware:

  • While many couples look at cohabitation as a trial-run for marriage, studies have shown that they are actually more likely -- not less -- to get divorced after marriage if they lived together first.
  • Most couples who live together do end up marrying, though just barely. It's slightly over 50%.
  • Most of the divorce risk comes at the beginning of the marriage. If a couple makes it for seven years, the divorce odds drop and become the same as the risks they would see if they had never lived together prior to the marriage. In other words, it's most common for cohabitating couples to get married and then quickly divorce.
  • Infidelity is more common in cohabitation relationships than it is in marriages.
  • Even if they do not get married, cohabitating couples tend to split up quite often. The separation rate that they see, for instance, is five times the rate seen by couples who did get married. It's easier to split up when it doesn't require a divorce.

If you find yourself in a complicated relationship and you have legal questions, make sure you take the time to gather all of the information you need.

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