Law Office of Jacqueline McNuttLaw Office of Jacqueline McNutt

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Can you catch a divorce from a friend? Maybe

There are few things quite as personal as deciding to end a marriage, or at least it seems that way. However, it is possible that factors outside of marriage could influence whether a couple actually files for divorce. One factor might come as a surprise to couples in Texas, because simply knowing someone who gets divorced raises a couple's chances of doing the same.

Married couples have about a one in two probability of filing for divorce. Scientists say that the statistics go from 50% to 75% when a family member or close friend divorces. A marriage is 150% more likely to end in divorce when a person has several friends who are divorced. The rate is much lower for couples who largely hang out with other married friends.

Although data shows that divorce is very often contagious among social and familial networks, it is not necessarily because lack of marital satisfaction spreads from one couple to another. Instead, a friend filing for divorce may give passive permission to someone who is struggling in an unhappy marriage. People in this situation may feel more confidant when filing for divorce after seeing loved ones successfully navigate the process.

No one should start preparing for divorce just because a friend is ending his or her marriage. An increased chance of filing for divorce is just that -- a chance, not a guarantee. However, it is possible that a friend's divorce might push one to reconsider his or her own marriage. In such cases it is helpful to familiarize one's self with the divorce process as well as his or her rights under Texas state law. Should this consideration ultimately lead to divorce, he or she may feel better equipped to handle to move forward with the decision.

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