It may come as no surprise to some Ohio couples that divorce seems to occur in waves within social groups. Not only is the idea of “divorce contagion” something that people often report anecdotally in their social lives, it is backed up by scientific research. According to researchers from Brown University, Harvard University and the University of California at San Diego, spouses with divorced friends are 75 percent more likely to separate themselves. Even spouses with friends of friends who divorce are one-third more likely to decide to divorce.
Of course, there are a number of reasons for these statistics. They reflect communities, cultures and social groups that are more open to divorce. Friends within these groups may therefore be more willing to consider divorce themselves. When spouses choose to divorce, it can also cause close friends in unhappy marriages to begin thinking about making changes. Many people stay in bad relationships due to a sense of inertia. When a friend seems to find a way out of that trap, it can motivate others to take action for their own lives and happiness.
When someone gets divorced, they may enjoy an active single life that can be particularly appealing to people in unhappy relationships. At the same time, some divorced people often note that their married friends steer clear of them during the process, perhaps afraid of just this kind of social contagion. However, a couple with a healthy marriage can use a friend’s divorce as inspiration to improve their relationship.
The social aspects of divorce can accompany the financial, practical and legal changes that come with the end of a marriage. A family law attorney could help a client thinking about divorce consider the implications on a wide range of issues, including child custody, property division and spousal support.