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Cohabitation doesn't play a role in causing divorce, study says

Professor Arielle Kuperberg studied data involving thousands of married women. The data was collected in 1995, 2002 and 2006 through 2010 by the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth. She collected that data and analyzed it and published the conclusions in the Journal of Marriage and Family. These conclusions, she said, “turns conventional wisdom on its head.”

The conventional wisdom that Kuperberg was talking about is the belief that cohabitation before marriage leads to divorce. Studies in the past have even concluded that data supports that theory, making it more than an assumption. Well, Kuperberg said that these studies failed to factor in -- or out -- the age of the cohabitants.

Kuperberg’s study did take into account the age of the cohabitants. She found that it was the age in which the couples got married that caused the apparent correlation between cohabitation and divorce. “The problem is that the couples are settling down at an earlier age, and settling down too young is what leads to divorce,” she said in an interview with The Huffington Post.

It was this variable that made it seem like there was a correlation. When she accounted for the age variable, that little correlation wasn’t there anymore. “For decades research has shown that cohabitation leads to divorce, and for the first time we can definitely say that cohabitation doesn’t lead to divorce and never did – that those earlier findings were a result of an incorrect measurement,” she said.

This data turns an assumption on its head, but does it make a difference in the decision that individuals will or should make? No. Each person makes a decision about what is best for them based on their beliefs and the circumstances of their individual situation.

A Houston divorce attorney knows that this is the case for a divorce as well. Each family is different. Thus, each divorce is different, requiring individualized attention and an individualized solution.

Source: The Huffington Post, “New Research Says Living Together Before Marriage Doesn’t Lead To Divorce,” Taryn Hillin, March 11, 2014

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