Having a baby before marriage does not increase divorce risk

Couples in Texas that have a baby before getting married are not any more likely to divorce than couples that have children after marriage, according to a new study. The new research, released by the nonprofit Council on Contemporary Families, was gathered from an analysis of thousands of surveys from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Survey of Family Growth.

Researchers looked at data from women who were surveyed after having their first baby between 1997 and 2010. When divorce rates were compared, researchers found that there was no difference between couples that married before or after their first child. However, data from women who were surveyed between 1985 and 1995 showed that having a baby before marriage increased a couple’s likelihood of divorcing by 60 percent. Between the earlier period and the later period, researchers found that the number of couples that had a baby before marriage doubled.

Commenting on the study, a professor of sociology from the University of Washington said that there is much less of a stigma about conceiving a child before marriage than there was 25 years ago. Now, couples that conceive a child before they get married do not feel the same pressure to pull off a shotgun wedding.

Regardless of when a couple had their first baby, a divorce with children involved is inevitably more difficult than a divorce without any children involved. A parent who is going through child custody negotiations during a divorce may want to have representation from a family law attorney. An attorney may be able to help the parent negotiate a custody and visitation agreement that takes the client’s unique family circumstances into account.