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How divorce promotes marriage: the benefit of a legal split

Divorce rates in the U.S. have been high for quite some time, and many people in Louisiana are divorced or know of someone who has gone through a divorce. Now, perhaps because of the high rate of divorce, marriage rates in the country are lower than ever. While trying to avoid divorce, however, some find that breakups can be even worse without it.

When couples build a life together without the legal contract of marriage, breaking up can be a nightmare. Who gets the house? How will you share time with your children? What about spousal support or child support? People who aren't married can't get divorced, so they are often left to deal with these issues on their own.

People who get married, however, have the option to divorce. While no one gets married planning for divorce, some may want to consider the benefits that come with a legal agreement. Among the most important of those benefits is legal protection. If you and your spouse decide to divorce, there are many resources available to help you through the process. And perhaps most importantly, a divorce is a legal arrangement approved by a court that must be upheld. This in itself is extremely beneficial.

Take, for example, child support. In a divorce, you and your attorney and your spouse and his or her attorney will come to an agreement -- with the approval of a judge -- on child support payments. If your spouse is ordered to pay you child support, he or she must pay or you can take them to court. If you were never married, however, you may hope and even expect that your ex will send you payments on time, but there is often no court order obligating him or her to do so. If your spouse stops paying, there's not much you can do.

In the end, those who avoid marriage may end up hurting themselves in the long run. Although divorce is rarely something people desire from the onset of a relationship, having the option can be invaluable.

Source: New York Observer, "No Divorce Is the New Divorce: Moms and Dads Navigate Messy Breakups in Marriage-less World," Rose Surnow, March 19, 2013

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