Having a child before marriage no longer means a higher divorce rate in California. California couples whose marriages end in divorce can often point to a variety of factors that caused the split. For years, it was believed that a couple having a child prior to marriage was a sign for an eventual parting of the ways. However, new information is coming to light regarding the statistics of couples who have a child before marriage.
A recent study centered around women who had a first child between 1985 and 1995 and those who had their first child between 1997 and 2010. Those in first category who got married after having the baby had a 60 percent higher divorce rate than those who married first. In the second category, the divorce rate remained the same regardless of at what point in the relationship the child was born.
Part of this might have to do with the decline in negative perceptions of those who have a child before marriage and pressure to marry. The number of women who had babies prior to getting married rose from 17 percent to 35 percent in the years that were studied. One anomaly in the study was for couples who lived together, had a baby and did not get married. Of those, 30 percent ended up parting ways within five years. Income, education and other factors were considered.
While having a child before marriage no longer means a higher divorce rate in California there are still challenges. Regardless of what stage in their relationship their child is born, parents of young children who choose to end their marriage will face decisions concerning child custody and support in addition to traditional divorce legal issues such as property division and spousal support. Our experienced family law attorneys can often assist a parent in negotiating a comprehensive settlement agreement that addresses these matters to help make a divorce more cost effective and timely.