Sociologists Find Divorce Too Costly for America's Poorest
Dmitry Tumin, doctoral student and Zhenchao Qian, professor and chair, Department of Sociology, are authors of a new study finding that long-term separations are an alternative for poor couples who cannot afford to legally end their marriages.
“For many disadvantaged couples, separation may not be their first choice, but they may feel it is their best choice,” said Tumin.
The study involved 7,272 people who participated in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979and who were married at some point. The NLSY is a nationally representative sample of men and women aged 14 to 22 in 1979. The same people were surveyed every year up to 1994 and every other year since then. Tumin and Qian followed the respondents through 2008.
Most people in the study who separated from a spouse reported getting a divorce within three years of the break up. But 15 percent of people who separated did not get a divorce within the first 10 years and researchers said there was an economic reason for it: They simply could not afford to get divorced, especially when there were children involved. The study found that the married-but-indefinitely-separated group generally had only a high school education, were black or Hispanic and had young children.
"Those with young children may find it difficult to support themselves and their children if they divorce," Qian said.
Read the entire press release, courtesy of Jeff Grabmeier, Ohio State Research and Innovation Communications, http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/maritalsep.htm