New study says divorce can be contagious

There is much discussion of the impact divorce can have on the immediate and extended family members. However, there is a new study that examines the impact divorce can have upon other friends and people in a social circle.

A team of researchers from Brown University, Harvard University and University of California, San Diego have found that people are 75 percent more likely to file for divorce if they have a friend who has done so. The number dips to 33 percent if the person getting divorced is a friend of a friend.

If you can do it, I can too

As with any kind of trend, it starts with one person. One couple files for divorce and that can impact those around them. Friends start looking at their own marital situation and evaluate whether their marriage is fulfilling. They may see their divorced friend survive and flourish after a difficult chapter of their life is put behind them. This leads them to believe that they can do it too.

Other friends may stay away

While divorcing is often the only solution for couples with broken marriages, there will be others who look at someone else’s divorce as a threat to their own marriage. One certified divorce coach from Chicago noticed this phenomena – whenever she spoke with married friends about the divorce, some would literally step back as if they were afraid her divorce was contagious. It took the coach years to realize that those who recoiled had marital issues and did not want to think about facing divorce themselves.

Each marriage is different

The choice of filing for divorce is extremely personal, and the reasons are unique to the people involved. Some couples look at trouble spots in other relationships and work toward not making the same errors. The stronger the marriage is more likely to survive, but remaining in one that is not strong can be a mistake.

An attorney experienced in divorce, custody and other family law matters can be extremely useful in weighing options, explaining various legal approaches, the financial impact, how custody is typically handled, and other related issues. This can help those contemplating divorce make an educated decision about whether it is something to pursue (as others in your social circle have), or to remain committed, at least for the time being.

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