BOSTON (CBS) – The average age for couples going through their first divorce is 30 years old with over 40% of first marriages ending in divorce. Many of these couples divorcing do not have children. Their spent marriage is often referred to as a starter marriage.

These kids have had front row seats at their parents’ divorces and they view divorce as the norm. With a starter marriage a couple ends up splitting very few assets because there are very few assets to split. Or worse, they end up splitting the debt they’ve accumulated.

This is an expensive dress rehearsal for the real thing. The average cost of a wedding today in the US is over $25,000.

In her book, The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony, Pamela Paul talks about the wedding as being the prize that the couple has focused on and not the next 50 years together. Once the wedding is over they have nothing in common.

Her research consisted mostly of census data analysis and interviews with dozens of young divorced people. Some of these young people chose marriage as a way to get out of their parent’s home or they had been dating a long time and marriage seemed to be the next step.

Studies have shown that living together before the wedding does not give a couple an edge in creating a lasting relationship. And more and more couples are living together because it is cheaper to combine households.

But either way, marriage or living together, you need to do some planning as a couple so you don’t end up as a statistic. You should be having the money conversation with your significant other long before you start to pack the boxes to move in together.

A book you might find helpful is Money Without Matrimony by Deb Neiman, a local financial planner.

Marriage should not be treated as a throw away commodity. Getting married requires commitment from both parties, emotional as well as financial.

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