Dannenbaum Law Firm, PLLC

Why divorce may be 'contagious'

While divorce may not be medically contagious, couples in Virginia with separated friends are more likely to end their marriages. Studies out of Harvard, Brown and the University of California at San Diego show that spouses are around 75 percent more likely to get divorced when they have a friend who is divorced. Furthermore, a spouse is 33 percent more likely to split if a friend of a friend gets divorced.

According to a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute, the reason for this phenomenon is that a friend ending their marriage alerts others in the social group to the possibility of getting a divorce. Many married couples avoid divorced people for this reason. When one couple slits up in a group of married friends, there is often a sense of shock followed by retreat.

When a friend divorces, a married couple often has to face their own issues directly. To make things worse, recently divorced people often experience a short-term euphoria that makes the idea of separation highly appealing. In order to combat this, many experts say that married couples need to devote undivided time with each other both in and out of the house. Some married couples can use a friend's divorce as an opportunity to make their own relationship stronger.

No matter why a couple decides to divorce, each party involved has the right to guidance and support from an attorney. A lot can be at stake in a separation, both financially and in terms of family. It's the responsibility of a lawyer to advocate for their client's best interests throughout the divorce process.

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