The numbers are in: according to a new study, 66 percent of divorced couples are childless, while about 40 percent have children together. But while researchers are sure that childless couples are more likely to divorce, they disagree on the reasons why.

Some believe that couples without children have less reason to stay married – they are not staying together because of the kids or working hard to make things work out in order to keep their family together. When childless couples divorce, there are no child custody disputes, child support payments, or parenting plans – many can just divide their property and begin their new life.

Others point out that the divorce study did not ask whether couples were childless by choice – and that perhaps couples divorced because of a differing opinion on whether to have children or the inability to do so. Infertility can be extremely stressful, as can arguments about whether or not to start a family.

The bottom line? Marriage experts stress that talking about whether or not to have kids before you commit is an important step in starting with a healthy marriage. In the same way, those who are beginning fertility treatments should discuss with their partner just how far they are willing to go to start a family. In the end, more research needs to be done to determine the real effects of a childless marriage, whether the couple wants to take that step or not.
Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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