Monday, August 30, 2010

The Un-Divorceds, and the Never-Marrieds

Another New York Times article published recently addresses the forces which cause couples to remain married, even though their relationship does not fit the standard definition of "married."  Perhaps they are living in separate bedrooms, or perhaps they are living on opposite coasts.

The following are some of the primary reasons, according to the article's author, why couples sometimes don't feel it's necessary to divorce:

- Aversion to lawyers/courts
- Desire to avoid a potentially ugly divorce
- Maintaining health insurance for both parties through the employer of one party
- Benefits which come from filing joint tax returns
- Future Social Security benefits
- No desire to remarry, or an excuse not to remarry
- Inability to sell jointly-owned home

The bottom line appears to be financial; interestingly, the majority of couples who choose not to divorce make that choice for the money and benefits, rather than for, for example, their kids.  Is this a reflection of our financially-strapped times?  Definitely.

But does it also indicate that, as a society, we feel differently about divorce and rearing children than we did previously?  Probably so.  The rate of unmarried births is rising, according to statistics in the last post.  The societal trend for change of this type is circular: things which are more common are more accepted, and as things become more acceptable, they become more common.

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