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Studies find positives in online relationships

While many people may associate online dating with casual relationships, there is some evidence that these types of services often lead to more stable relationships for couples in California and throughout the country. This was one of the findings of a study conducted by professors at the University of Vienna and the University of Essex. More than one-third of contemporary marriages are the result of online meetings.

The study used simulations to make its predictions, and it found that online dating tended to make people look beyond their social groups and racial boundaries. The study's prediction of more stable marriages is reflected in findings in another study from 2013. That study, published in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences," found that only 7 percent of couples in the study who met online and married got a divorce. Furthermore, just under 6 percent of the online-connected couples broke up compared to more than 7 percent of those who met offline.

One reason that couples who meet online may have more stable relationships is that those who sign up for online dating may be ready for marriage. Another possibility could be that the sites help match partners who are compatible.

Whether or not couples meet online, some marriages will unfortunately end in divorce. These individuals might need to negotiate property division and child custody issues. Even if a couple has a great deal of conflict, they may want to consider mediation to reach a solution. Mediation is less adversarial than litigation, and its focus is on an agreement that suits both people. However, the couple may need to go to court if there are points on which they cannot compromise.

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