A study recently published by researchers at Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Family and Marriage Research found that an increasing number of adults in the Baby Boomer generation are choosing to cohabit instead of marry. Currently, approximately one-third of Baby Boomers, Americans born between 1946 and 1964, are unmarried. In 1980, only about 20 percent of people in the United States who were in the same age group the Boomers are currently in were unmarried.
According to Transitions Into and Out of Cohabitation in Later Life, the percentage of Americans over the age of 50 who have opted to cohabit with a partner has more than doubled since 2000. In 2010, an estimated 2.75 million people aged 50 and older lived with an unmarried partner. In contrast, researchers found only about 1.2 million single Americans over age 50 opted to cohabit ten years earlier.
According to the study’s lead author, Susan Brown, most Baby Boomers who choose to cohabit are likely to remain unmarried, but unlikely to end their relationship. Brown believes cohabiting has become an increasingly acceptable long-term alternative to marriage for many Americans. In fact, the research study found that single Boomers are just as likely to cohabit as to get married. For older people, cohabiting is reportedly not used as a stepping stone to marriage as it often is with younger generations. Instead, researchers found that death was more likely to end cohabiting for Baby Boomers than marriage or termination of the relationship.
Brown said she and other researchers sought to understand the patterns that lead many Baby Boomers to cohabit instead of marry. Study authors used population surveys as well as data from a 1998 to 2006 health and retirement study to track more than 4,000 unmarried heterosexual Americans between the ages of 51 and 75. Brown stated many Baby Boomers appear to simply lack an incentive to marry. For Boomers, societal and family pressures to marry have reportedly decreased at the same time financial disincentives to marriage have increased. For example, those who have lost a spouse may not want to marry and give up access to their deceased spouse’s Social Security benefits. Additionally, many are reportedly concerned with the financial implications of a possible divorce.
Although the State of Florida no longer recognizes common law marriage, cohabiting can still have a host of legal implications for a couple. In order to protect their financial and other interests, many couples who cohabit in Florida choose to enter into a cohabitation agreement. Having competent legal counsel for marital and family law matters can have a dramatic effect on your quality of life and your future. If you have cohabitation agreement or other family law questions, you need an experienced marital law attorney.
If you need help resolving a family law matter, contact Attorney Sandy T. Fox today. He is a dedicated marital lawyer who is available to advise you regarding your family law issues including domestic violence, paternity, name changes, alimony, divorce, adoption, child custody, child support, and child visitation. He assists clients located throughout South Florida. To speak with a hardworking family lawyer today, please call the Law Office of Sandy T. Fox toll free at (800) 596-0579 or contact us through our website.
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More Baby Boomers Opting to Cohabit, Not Marry, by Randy Dotinga, U.S. News and World Report