Acceptance of Divorce Decreasing, Cohabitation Increasing

cohabitation, DuPage County divorce lawyerOver time, society’s opinions are constantly evolving. Some ideas that were controversial in previous generations may be less so today, while other commonly-held beliefs from decades ago are no longer quite so acceptable. Divorce is a good example. Prior to the 1970’s, divorce was largely viewed as a last resort, and carried a significant social stigma. Since then, public opinion has dramatically shifted, and divorce has become a more socially-acceptable solution for many couples. A new study, however, suggests that the pendulum has begun to swing the other direction regarding how most people view divorce, paired with a new view on the practice of unmarried cohabitation.

Direct Questioning

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), a sub-agency of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has released a report that examined public attitudes regarding marriage, divorce, sex, and related subjects, and how they have changed over the last several decades. The survey was conducted at intervals between 2002 and 2013, and the sample size, while varied at each interval, always included at least 10,000 adult participants. Participants were presented with a number of statements and asked whether they agreed or disagreed with each statement, using a system that allowed them to “strongly agree,” “agree,” “disagree,” or “strongly disagree.”


Participants were given the statement: “Divorce is usually the best solution when a couple can’t seem to work out their marriage problems.” In 2002, nearly 47 percent of women agreed with this statement, along with 44 percent of men. The most recent survey, conducted between 2011 and 2013 shows a significant decrease, with 38 percent of women and 39 percent of men agreeing.


In response to the statement “A young couple should not live together unless they are married,” nearly 35 percent of women and 32 percent of men agreed in 2002. In 2011-2013, agreement in both groups decreased to 28 percent of women and 25 percent of men.

Interpreting the Numbers

It is difficult to say what exactly is behind the changing attitudes toward divorce and cohabitation. What they seem to suggest, however, is that people are taking marriage more seriously, and that those who are married should not resort to divorce quickly. On the other hand, young couples are less likely to be pushed into marriage due to the evolving view of unmarried cohabitation.

Regardless of public opinion, if your marriage is breaking down, you need to do what is best for yourself and your family. Learn more about your available options by contacting an experienced Aurora divorce attorney at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams today. Call [[phone]] to schedule a confidential consultation.



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