Marriage versus Living Together – What Are The Facts?

Should couples get married, or simply live together? Is one more successful than the other?


With divorce rates rising at an alarming rate, and statistics for the success of second marriage so disheartening, is it any wonder than more and more couples are choosing to forgo tying the knot in favor of simply living together?  After all, with the prospect of a messy and possibly expensive divorce on the horizon for more than half of married couples today, surely cohabitation is a safer option. Right?


Well, slow down a minute….as it turns out, the answer to that question isn’t a resounding yes! While it’s true that half of married couples are likely headed for marital dissolution, the statistics for cohabiting are actually even worse. According to the results of a study conducted by the National Survey of Family Growth, only a pitiful thirteen percent of cohabiting couples stayed together. Which, conversely, means eighty seven percent don’t. So perhaps, not so safe after all.


Living together doesn’t mean a better relationship.


Additionally, studies are providing researchers with some very unexpected results when it comes to children’s well being, as it is affected by cohabiting parents. Remarriage after divorce is often cast in a rather negative light when there are children involved. This is because studies have shown that children usually fare better when raised by two biological parents, as opposed to one biological parent and one stepparent.  However, cohabiting parents are proving to be even less of a desirable option in many regards.


According to recent scholarly research on the subject of cohabitation, children whose parents lived together instead of getting married showed higher instances of developing negative habits. This included becoming smokers and heavy drinkers, and developing a lower quality of life from an economic standpoint. The research also showed that they are more likely to face greater struggles in their intimate relationships as adults.


From an entirely different, and far less emotional standpoint, there are the legalities to consider when choosing to cohabit with someone instead of getting married. Making a life with someone in which you jointly purchase property or make any financial investments together, but are not afforded any of the legal protections of marriage, may leave you open to future financial catastrophe.


Unmarried couples have no legal foundation.


In an instance where a cohabiting couple decide to part ways after several years of living together, they have no legal recourse for resolving property disputes, or addressing the issue of joint ownership of real estate without filing a civil lawsuit.


Many people who have suffered through abusive marriages, bitter divorces, and even multiple unhappy unions are often gun shy about tying the knot. This is completely understandable. However, for those who choose to cohabit with their partners, they will need to give some consideration to ensuring that all of their end-of-life and end-of-relationship paperwork is in order to reduce future difficulties.


As prenuptial agreements are only available to couples who are legally tying the knot, we cannot advise that you pursue this option if you are simply planning to live together. What we can suggest, however, is that you sit down with a family law attorney and discuss your choices and goals for the future. Talk about what you would want to do with regards to custody and asset division, in the event that your cohabitation relationship ended.This way you can receive sound advice for how to prepare for all eventualities, should it ever come to that.


The attorneys at The Kronzek Law Firm have decades of experience helping couples and individuals prepare for their futures, protect their assets, and ensure that their children are properly cared for. We can help you, regardless of where you may be in your relationship status, to ensure that all of your bases are covered. Call us today at 517-886-1000. We are available 24/7 to help you.