Widger & Widger, APLC Articles Study Shows Low-Income Couples Value Marriage

Study Shows Low-Income Couples Value Marriage

By Widger & Widger, APLC  May. 8, 2013 10:55a

A study into marriage and divorce among low-income couples was recently published in the Journal of Marriage and Family. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) showed that those with low incomes value the institution of marriage as much as their wealthier counterparts. Efforts to make marriages stronger among this socio-economic group would be better off by providing help with the problems which cause marriages to fall apart, the researchers found. These problems, which generally affect marriages in all groups, are those involving finances, alcohol, and drug abuse. Money problems, which especially affect low-income couples more than high-income couples, are a major source of why low-income couples avoid marriage or get divorced.

The study involved surveys of more than 6,000 individuals with an average age of 45 from the states of California, Florida, Texas, and New York. In a news release concerning the study, one of the researchers stated that the federal government spends $1 billion on programs devised to shore up the institution of marriage among low-income people based on the viewpoint that this socio-economic group lacks the skills to successfully manage their intimate relationships. The researchers found that social issues and the above-mentioned problems cause enormous stress on the marriages of these couples and finding better ways to address them could lead to lower divorce rates.

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Divorce is a stressful experience for most couples, regardless of their financial situation; they must struggle with important decisions which can affect them for many years to come. These decisions include major issues, such as the division of marital property and debt, child custody and visitation, and alimony along with matters as seemingly small but equally painful such as who will retain the family pet. Obtaining sound legal advice concerning the long-range repercussions involved in all the decisions connected with dissolving one's marriage is highly recommended and can ease the process.

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