Having a child won’t prevent a divorce

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

There are some couples who feel that their relationship is getting worse and may be headed toward divorce. Their marital satisfaction has declined. They’re looking for a way to save the marriage and prevent a divorce.

In some cases, these couples decide that they just need to have a child. They believe that it will bring them closer together or that they’ll be happier as a family, rather than just a couple. But studies show that having a child is highly unlikely to save a marriage and much more likely to push a couple toward divorce.

Relationship satisfaction

The key is to look at the amount of satisfaction people have in their relationship. As a general rule, this always declines after marriage. For some couples, it declines dramatically, and they decide that the marriage was a mistake and that they should get divorced. For others, it just declines a small amount and may recover.

Some studies have looked at the rate of decline regarding marital satisfaction. For childless couples, the rate of decline is much less. But for those who do have children, this decline happens about twice as quickly.

In other words, having a child is more likely to take away from marital satisfaction, rather than adding to it. Because of this, it is not likely to prevent a divorce. Instead, it is just going to make the eventual divorce more complicated because the couple now has to think about child custody rights and parenting time.

Of course, getting divorced can be complex even without children, while attempting to divide assets and things of this nature. Couples who are going through this process need to know about all of their legal options.

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