Study: Cohabitating couples concerned over costs of divorce

With the New Year here, many cohabitating couples are undoubtedly examining where their relationships are headed in 2012. Specifically, they may be wondering if they are going to take the plunge and get married, or whether they are going to maintain their current living arrangements. As it turns out, many of these cohabitating couples may actually be hesitant to enter into a marriage. The reason? Fear of divorce.

A recently published study in the December issue of the Journal of Family Relations asked 61 cohabitating couples living in Columbus, Ohio, and ranging in age from 18 to 36, a series of detailed questions about marriage and divorce.

Here, researchers found that roughly 67 percent of these cohabitating partners had significant concerns about the social, financial and emotional fallout of divorce, an attitude that they believe helps explain the recent decline in marriage rates and increase in cohabitation.

Simply put, researchers believe that the predominant attitude among cohabitating couples is that the potential consequences of divorce make marriage an altogether undesirable option.

Interestingly, the researchers — from both Cornell and the University of Central Oklahoma — also found that working-class female respondents were the most likely to be concerned about the ramifications of a divorce and the potential to become trapped in an undesirable marriage.

Specifically, researchers found that unlike their middle-class counterparts, these working-class female respondents viewed marriage/quasi-permanent commitment as something of a trap.

“Middle-class respondents disproportionately asserted that marriage meant commitment, something they viewed as a positive feature of the institution,” reads the study. “When working-class women referenced commitment, on the other hand, they did not view it in a particularly positive light.”

Researchers attributed this phenomenon to the fact that many working-class females are often the primary breadwinners in their relationships, meaning they have more to lose in the event a marriage fails.

What do you think of these findings?

To learn more about divorce or property division here in Texas, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …


Time, “Is fear of divorce keeping people from getting married” Dec. 22, 2011