Poor Couples More Likely to Separate than Divorce

Posted on Sep 28, 2012

A new study conducted by sociology researchers Dmitry Tumin and Zhenchao Qian at Ohio State University has confirmed that a major reason for separation without divorce is the monetary cost of going through the divorce process.

The study examined 7,272 people involved in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, which was conducted by the Ohio State's Center for Human Resource Research for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The study’s participates included those who were between the ages of 14- and 22-years-old in 1979, and who were married at some point between 1979 and 2008.

The study found that the average time period of separation for couples who ultimately divorced was three years, while the average period of separation for couples who reconciled was two years. However, about 15 percent of those who separated remained separated but not divorced for either ten years or until the study concluded. This group was generally poor and cited financial reasons when asked why they did not divorce. This group was also largely Black or Hispanic, had young children, and only had a high school education.

While divorce itself is not often prohibitively expensive, child custody battles and other issues can add up. Losing the perks of a married couple can also be costly when raising children.

Researches added that not all people who chose separation instead of divorce did so because they lacked the resources to afford a divorce – some older estranged couples remain separated for other reasons. Some reasons for these separations included retirement funds, shared properties, shared debts, and religious reasons.


Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney
Molly B. Kenny's Bellevue family law office is conveniently located on Lake Bellevue Drive, making it easily accessible to those in the greater Seattle area. Our divorce and child custody lawyers help men and women get the information, guidance, and compassionate representation they need.
Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny