New York, NY- A new nationwide study conducted by the University of Ohio found that many poor couples are choosing to separate for the long term instead of getting a divorce.

The National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1979 followed 7,272 individuals who answered the researchers questions every year until 1994, afterward they answered questions every other year. The two main researchers for this project were Dmitry Tumin and Zhenchao Qian.

The researchers, who presented their findings at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, found that 80 percent of those who separated got a divorce within three years. Five percent attempted to reconcile while 15 percent of respondents went ten years without pursuing either reconciliation or entering the divorce process.

The researchers also found that the majority of individuals who did not get a divorce tended to be “racial and social minorities” with low income and education, and have young children.

“Long-term separation seems to be the low-cost, do-it-yourself alternative to divorce for many disadvantaged couples,” Tumin said, adding, “Separation may not be their first choice, but they may feel it is their best choice.”

Tumin and Qian also discovered that 49 percent of the respondents left their first marriage during one point of the study. They also found that religious leanings had no bearing on their choice to remain married.

For the poor, coming up with the money to pay for an accomplished divorce attorney can be very difficult, and since they don’t have the issue of asset and property division they chose to remain married. But this can create future problems, especially if they have children or want to get remarried, without legal backing it can problematic getting the necessary support from their spouse.