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Study examines divorce risk for cohabiting couples

When Florida couples live together before they get married, they might experience something that researchers have dubbed the "premarital cohabitation effect". This refers to the fact that they might have a higher likelihood of struggling in their marriage if they have lived together before marriage.

Some researchers have argued that the premarital cohabitation effect disappears. However, in a study that appeared in the September 2018 issue of the Journal and Marriage and Family, researchers found that this was not the case. They argued that previous researchers did not look at the long term. During the first year of marriage, people who do not live together before marriage have a higher divorce risk. However, over a longer period of time, those people adjust to marriage, and it is couples who have cohabited whose divorce risk is higher.

The authors said it might be because people who live together before divorce do not experience the shock of adjustment in the first year of marriage. For the study, they used data on women who were under 45 and in their first marriages between 1970 and 2015 from the National Surveys of Family Growth.

If a couple decides to get a divorce, they might have property to divide. They may also need to create a schedule for child custody and visitation. If the marriage has not lasted very long, they might not have much shared property. Couples who have been married for longer might have a home and shared assets and debts. They can negotiate their division of these along with child custody, or they can go to court. One person might also be required to pay spousal support to the other if there is a disparity in income.

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