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Child before marriage doesn't lead to divorce

Unmarried couples in Georgia who are thinking about having a baby may find it comforting to know that they are at no more risk of divorce than those who marry before having a baby, according to a new study. The research was conducted by the nonprofit Council on Contemporary Families.

The authors of the study examined data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to compare the divorce rates of those women who had their first baby between 1985 and 1995 with those who had their first child between 1997 and 2010. They discovered that couples who had a baby before getting married during the earlier time period were 60 percent more likely to see their marriage end up in a divorce than couples who got married first. However, couples who had a child during the later period had an equal chance of divorcing, regardless of in which order the events occurred. Researchers also found that the percentage of couples who had a child before getting married increased from 17 percent to 35 percent between 1985 and 2010.

According to some observers, the results are reflective of the fact that Americans have relaxed their views on having children before marriage over the last 30 years. As a result, many couples no longer feel pressured to rush into marriage in the face of a pregnancy and choose to wait until they feel ready.

While rushed marriages may be on the decline, many parents find that they no longer want to stay together. A parent who is facing the end of a marriage may want to discuss with a family law attorney the best approach to the issues of child custody and support that will likely arise.

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