Pennsylvania couples who choose to live together before marriage could be at a higher risk for divorce according to a recent study. Over the years, statistical analysis has indicated that people who live together before marriage may be more likely to struggle with conflicts during the marriage. Other researchers have argued that this effect can derive from multiple factors, including social disapproval of premarital cohabitation. As of 2018, a strong majority of Americans approve of living together before marriage.

However, this study says that changing attitudes about living together before marriage have not affected the overall likelihood of divorce. The researchers argue that couples who do not live together before marriage are more likely to divorce in their first year together because they have a difficult time adjusting to sharing a home. However, people who shared a home before marriage become more likely to divorce in later years together. The study examined data from U.S. women who married for the first time between 1970 and 2015 at the age of 44 or younger.

The results still do not provide a clear indication of causation, however. People with religious or other objections to living together while unmarried may also have the same strong objections to divorce, and this could be reflected in the study. On the other hand, people who do live together before marriage could have more positive feelings about divorce. The research covers multiple generations amid widely variant attitudes toward premarital cohabitation.

Whenever people move in together for the first time, marriage can be an extreme challenge, and the difficulties that arise sometimes cannot be reconciled. A family law attorney may work with a spouse going through a divorce to protect his or her rights and seek a fair settlement on issues like property division or child custody.