USA Today reports that the marriages of approximately 79% of all couples who separate end in divorce. Ohio State University researchers recently presented their findings at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, which indicate that separation is far more common than an immediate divorce, particularly where the couple has children under the age of five.
The study also showed that the average length of an initial separation is about four years. For couples who ultimately divorced after separating, the average separation period lasted about three years. In contrast, those couples who later reunited were only separated for two years, on average. From this data, the researchers concluded that once parties were separated for a period of three years, they were highly unlikely to ever reconcile, but likely to either remain separated or divorce.
Race or ethnic group also affected whether a couple separated or divorced. Black and Hispanics were more likely to be separated than whites, and these same groups were also more likely to remain separated rather than divorce.
When a couple separates, but neither party seeks court relief, matters often remain unsettled that would normally be addressed in a formal divorce or legal separation proceeding. Issues such as child custody, visitation, child support, and division of property go unresolved, leaving children in often chaotic and unresolved situations between parents.
While parties may eventually reunite, it may make sense for parties to seek court relief through legal separation or divorce proceedings, if only to set up arrangements regarding their children on a temporary basis. Mediation is another option that a divorce attorney can assist with. All situations vary, and only a qualified Chicago, Illinois divorce attorney can properly advise you of the consequences of informal separations and formal divorce or legal separation filings. Contact your divorce lawyer today for advice based on your individual situation.