Due to the statistically significant 33 percent increase in divorce filings in January nationwide, this month has been dubbed “Divorce Month.” There are many reasons why couples divorce, but the reason January has such a high rate of filing is generally attributed to a couple’s desire to maintain peace during the holidays. Unfortunately, once the joy and festivities of the season subside, and the daily reality of the troubled relationship sets in again, many individuals come to a decision to terminate their marriages at the beginning of the year.
Why do couples divorce? In an effort to better understand this and hopefully reduce divorce rates and help people make better decisions on marriage, social scientists have studied this issue extensively. None of these factors should be taken as a reason to give up on a troubled marriage. On the contrary, these are areas that troubled couples should recognize as problem areas and do their best to work through.
- Financial disagreements. Couples should consider finances in as much detail as possible before marriage. One study found that couples that argued about money early on in their married lives tended to report dissatisfaction with their relationships years later. Money disagreements are the top predictor for divorce across income and wealth levels. Couples who pool resources tend to have more stable and happy marriages, while those who don’t share bank accounts are 145 percent more likely to divorce.
- Not taking your time. As the old saying goes, “[m]arry in haste, and repent at leisure.” One study showed that divorce rates were inversely proportional to the length of time a couple dated prior to marriage. Couples who dated for three years prior to tying the knot were 39 percent less likely to get divorced than those who dated for under one year.
- Divergent drinking habits. If your spouse is a heavy drinker, you are more likely to divorce. Interestingly, the correlation did not hold true if both partners drank a lot, which indicated the problem was more due to differences in habits than it was due to the drinking itself.
- Spending too much on the wedding. Oddly, couples that spend more on the engagement ring and have more elaborate nuptials may be more likely to divorce. Women who spent more than $20,000 on their wedding were three and a half times more likely to divorce than women who spent only $5,000 or $10,000.
- Influence of friends and family. It seems that divorce can spread like wildfire. If a friend or neighbor divorces, the likelihood that you will divorce increases by 75 percent, one study found. This influence extends not only to friends but also to friends of friends.
- Age difference. Spouses who are far apart in age are in more danger of divorce than those closer in age. A ten-year age difference corresponds to a 39 percent increased likelihood of divorce.
- Marrying too young. While in previous years it was more common for people to marry straight out of high school, the data shows that nowadays, this is a recipe for a failed marriage. Couples that marry in their late teens or even early twenties are more likely to divorce than those that marry later in life.
Marriage is a serious commitment, not to be entered into without much thoughtful consideration. Divorce is also very serious, having long-range consequences and implications — relationally, legally, and financially. If you are facing an impending divorce, you will need the support of family, friends, and a competent, seasoned legal professional to get you through the turbulent waters ahead. Carefully choose your divorce attorney so that he may represent you throughout the entire process. Individuals will often choose an attorney in a hurry and subsequently replace the attorney during the proceedings because they are not satisfied with his or her work. The aforementioned scenario may be problematic, however, in certain divorce cases—as the decisions already made during those proceedings may be difficult or impossible for the subsequent attorney to reverse or change. James S. Cunha is an experienced West Palm Beach Divorce Lawyer who for years has been serving the family law needs of individuals in the South Florida Counties of Palm Beach, Martin, Okeechobee, Broward, Hendry, St. Lucie, and Miami-Dade. Call today for a consultation at (561) 429-3924.