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Does moving in before marriage increase the odds of divorce?

You and your spouse may have started living together months or years before you actually got married. Maybe you just felt like it would simplify your lives and you knew it was a long-term relationship either way. Does this make it more likely that you'll get divorced?

It depends. Experts who have studied this say that the risk of divorce is "much higher" for people who move in with multiple partners. If you lived with your last two significant others, broke up and then moved in with your spouse before getting married, the odds that you'll also eventually break up are higher.

However, if your spouse was the first person you ever lived with, the odds of divorce don't seem to change. They're roughly the same if you started living together before or after the wedding day.

Why does this happen? Experts obviously can't speak for every case, even if the trends are apparent from the statistics. However, some have suggested that couples who move in before marriage may then not be as committed to the marriage and/or may not be as adverse to the idea of a divorce, even before they want one.

Living together before marriage can make the eventual divorce complicated, especially when dividing assets. For instance, maybe your significant other bought a car for the two of you to share when you were dating, and you continued sharing it after tying the knot. Does the car belong to both of you, or is it just your significant other's because he or she bought it when you weren't legally even a couple? Make sure you know your legal rights as you sort through these types of questions.

Source: Divorce.usa.edu, "How common is divorce and what are the reasons?," accessed Jan. 27, 2017

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