Sunday, 2 January 2011

Are Divorces Contagious?

At least in Hollywood, 2010 was the year of the divorce. Even in notoriously fickle Tinseltown, there seemed to be more than the usual numbers of megawatt heavyweight divorces. Sandra Bullock and Jesse James kicked off the year, and 2010 ended with Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds calling off their union. Politicians and sports athletes weren't immune to the divorce bug that went around in 2010 either. That brings us to an interesting question: Are divorces contagious?

Some California divorce lawyers will tell you that certain times in a year seem to see more couples coming in for divorce consultations than others. For instance, the New Year and Christmas holidays tend to see much buried antagonism and resentment exploding through, and the first few weeks of the year can be pretty busy for a California high net worth divorce attorney. However, do divorces in the family or among your friends, or even celebrity divorces, increase the likelihood that you'll be seeing a divorce attorney very soon? It is possible that hearing divorce stories from friends or relatives causes you to reevaluate the state of your marriage.

According to a study by a professor at the University of California, San Diego, there is a theory called social contagion, which holds that the risk of divorce can actually increase and affect those at least 2 degrees of separation from a couple is getting a divorce. The chances of such social contagion affecting your chances of divorce increase when there is a divorce in your circle of friends or in your family. In fact, according to the professor, your chances of getting a divorce increase by 22%, when you have a divorced sibling.

It's still too early to tell whether the rash of celebrity divorces in 2010 will contribute to an increase in overall divorces in the non-celebrity population in California.

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