The Houston Family Law Blog

Living Together Before Marriage: Not Impacting Divorce

There used to be, especially in places like Texas and the rest of the South, some social stigma attached to living together before marriage. One of the reasons previously offered was that living together led to divorce because, presumably, it took the "shine" off marriage (doesn't marriage do that on its own?). Well, it turns out that living together before marriage is not leading to divorces, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

This is probably good news because nearly 60 percent of couples live together before getting married.

The study -- which was of 22,000 men and women -- found that "those who were engaged and living together before the wedding were about as likely to have marriages that lasted 15 years as couples who hadn't lived together", reports the AJC.

Couples that live together without marriage are engaged in cohabitation. Unlike marriage, it can be entered into with anyone, with no formal requirements. This means that it lacks the contractual basis that underpins marriage. That is both good and bad. It is good because when the cohabitation ends, so does the relationship; but at the same time, when cohabitation ends, and there is property, or children involved, then there will be complications.

If a couple are cohabitating in Texas and a child was born to them, the male does not automatically incur an obligation to support the child. Either paternity must be established, or the male must volunteer through an acknowledgment form. (Yes, this does kind of imply that under the law, couples in cohabitation aren't really a couple).

So, if you are ending a cohabitation in Texas and there are property or children involved, it might be time to get an attorney involved.

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