Seattle, WA- The days when having a child out of wedlock have long passed, and for a good number of Washington couples the carriage comes before the marriage. It was once taboo and there was the belief that having a child before marriage would certainly lead to divorce. While that may have been true in the past, a new study shows that it may no longer be true in 21st century America.  having a baby before tying the knot is not a prelude to divorce.

A new study from a researchers at Cornell University in New York found that couples who have children before they marry are no more likely to divorce than couples who wait until after marriage to reproduce.

Lead researcher Kelly Musick, who is an associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University in New York and her team analyzed data from the National Survey of Family Growth, a Centers for Disease Control project. They looked at couples who had children between 1985 and 1995 and 1997 and 2010, according to Live Science.

Researchers asked over 5,000 couples– some married and some cohabiting—about their relationships and family structure and what they found was somewhat surprising.

Of the earlier group, 17 percent had children before they were married and within one year 21 percent of those couples were married. Another 59 percent were married within five years of having children. In contrast, 35 percent of the latter group had children before marriage. Of that group, 15 percent were married within a year of having children and 48 were married within five years.

But when it comes to divorce, the earlier group had a divorce rate of 60 percent while that trend did not present for the latter group. Musick explained to the Live Science “the declining importance of marriage timing relative to parenthood is consistent with waning social pressure to marry and the blurring of boundaries between marriage and cohabitation.” Musick says couples are thinking about having families, “putting those pieces in place” before worrying about marriage.

Cohabiting couples who never married did not fare so well and ended up being separated at twice the rate of couples who married after their children were born.

A lower divorce rate is always good news, but it doesn’t change the fact that a large number of marriages still end in divorce and families are thrown into turmoil. One of the most troublesome issues associated with the divorce and specifically pertains to this study is: child custody. Disagreements over this issue can tie up the divorce process and takes an experienced child custody lawyer to resolve.

Divorce can be a traumatic time and you need someone on your side to look out for your best interests in all areas of divorce. You need to contact a divorce lawyer in Washington to help you through the divorce process and successfully negotiate for the child custody you want.