Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

5005 Riverway Drive, Suite 450 • Houston, Texas 77056

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Does Cohabitation Cause Problems for the Children?

We have discussed the changing demographics and statistics behind divorce in recent decades. Divorce rates in general have been on the decline. One study looked at how children of the 1970s and 1980s – times when divorce rates were at their highest – may be more careful about entering into marriage than their parents. Now a different study is looking at another recent trend – the high rates of unwed couples that are having children.

41 percent of all births now occur to unwed mothers with many of those mothers living with their babies’ fathers, even though the couple is not married. The groups involved in the study looked at the impact that these cohabiting couples had on their children and concluded that these environments negatively affected children.

The study does come from the National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values, two groups with a strong marriage and family life platform, but are their conclusions troubling? The study cites the instability that comes with such family households, where fathers may not always be around or where there may be multiple fathers for different children. The lead psychologist said that children of cohabitating couples are more likely to show signs of aggression or depression than children of married couples show.

One possible reason, according to an expert, is that marriages are more likely to occur when there are certain elements present like mutual respect, problem-solving skills and economic security. Cohabitating couples are less likely to have these traits, the argument goes. Is this an overgeneralization, though? Surely there are cohabitating couples with these traits, so it may not be fair to compare the worst examples from one group to the best from another.

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce attorneys

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