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I divorce, you divorce, we all...or at least 75% of us divorce

Contagious is a word that might be most often used to describe the spread of disease, whether it is bacterial, viral, airborne or one simply spread through contact. While this is certainly a very accurate use of the word, it also applies to anything that can affect others by spreading from one person to another.

Have you ever heard the phrase “laughter is contagious”? We’re pretty sure that the readers of our Fort Worth divorce law blog have. The phrase refers to the spread of an emotion, something that a psychotherapist says helps explain a new study conducted by Brown University that claims that divorce is also contagious.

The study gathered information concerning thousands of individuals and spanned over 30 years. Of those that participated, 75 percent were more likely to obtain a divorce if they had one friend that was already divorced. Take that statistic out one more ring on the ripple effect and those who knew a friend of a friend who finalized a divorce were 33 percent more likely to do so themselves.

The psychotherapist mentioned above is named Talia Filippelli, and she explained that “emotions are contagious, and if you have somebody unhappy in their relationship around you all the time, you may start to be a little bit more critical of your own relationship.”

Advice is another thing that tends to be a little bit contagious where divorce is concerned. Once a decision is made to file, friends that have already gone through the process often weigh in with advice that begins with “in my divorce.”

These conversations may be helpful in that they raise issues that a spouse should discuss with their attorney, but there is a danger in assuming that one divorce is just like the next. Before any major decisions are made, a spouse should discuss the situation with a knowledgeable attorney.

Source: CBS, “New Study Says Divorce Can Be Contagious,” April 30, 2014

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