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Changing attitudes toward children and marriage

Cohabitation has been seen by more and more California parents as an acceptable alternative to marriage. The stigmas attached to children born out of wedlock do not appear to apply as strongly now as it used to, and statistical surveys tell us that the number of families raising children outside of marriage is growing every year. What is more, the relationship status of the parents at the time of the child's birth appears to have no direct effect on the eventual fate of their marriage.

A non-profit group recently conducted a study based upon surveys that had previously been performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It looked at women who had had their first child between 1985 and 1995, and compared that group to women who had had their first child between 1997 and 2010. Among other things, it found that the percentage of couples who had their first baby prior to getting married increased from 17 percent in the earlier group to 35 percent in the later one.

The study also looked at the relationship between marital status at the time of the child's birth and the eventual possibility of a divorce. In the earlier group, those couples who had their first child prior to getting married were 60 percent more likely to get a divorce than couples who had waited. However, in the second group, there was no appreciable difference in the divorce rate, regardless of at what stage in their relationship couples had their first baby.

Parents who are going through a divorce will often have to face decisions regarding child custody and support in addition to the issues of property division and alimony. A parent whose marriage is coming to an end may want to have the assistance of a family law attorney in negotiating a settlement agreement that addresses these matters.

Source: USA Today, "Baby before marriage doesn't increase divorce risk, study says", Mary Bowerman, Sept. 16, 2015

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