July 29, 2010

Do Children Increase Your Risk of Divorce?

Posted in Divorce tagged at 12:03 pm by demetriagraves

What are the risk factors for divorce? The most commonly known about risk factors for divorce are disagreements about money, work-and-family balance, sex and problems with in-laws. How about children – are they a threat or an asset to your marriage?  It seems that the main reasons couples divorce have far more to do with the age at which they married, whether it’s a first marriage or not and new data is showing that kids can be a contributing factor to divorce in certain circumstances as well as a stabilizing influence.

According to a number of recent studies, the number one reason couples split, is if they marry when they’re still teenagers.  A woman who marries before she turns 18 has a 48% likelihood of divorcing, almost twice that rate as women who wait until they’re 25 or older to wed and who face just a 24% likelihood of divorce.

It’s interesting to note that a recent study found that premarital childbearing lead to higher divorce risks, and that effect was actually slightly stronger in first marriages than in later ones. Consequently, childbearing before a first marriage seems to be connected with some characteristics that resulted in higher disruption risks to marriage. This was also found to be true for women who enter a second marriage or a later in life union.

Issues about children—from how couples feel about having them to their gender and health—are also high on the list of divorce triggers. For example, a woman who wants a child or children much more strongly than her spouse is twice as likely to divorce as couples who agree on the number of children they want.  Moreover, couples with two sons have a 36.9% likelihood of divorcing versus couples with two daughters who face a 43.1% likelihood.  And couples with a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are 22.7% more likely to divorce before their child turns eight than parents of a child without ADHD.

Children can also have a stabilizing affect on marriages in certain circumstances. It’s been found that an increasing but still moderate number of children has a stabilizing effect on marriage. This pattern ceases when a mother has a fourth child. There was a small increase in divorce risk for mothers of four compared to mothers of three children. The highest risk of marital dissolution is found in marriages of women who have no children of their own. The patterns are quite similar for first and later marriages but it was noted that the stabilizing effect of having children is less pronounced in later marriages than in first marriages. Also the risk of divorce is around two to three times higher for remarried women than for first-time marriages.

While analyzing the risks of divorce is an interesting topic, what do you do if you find yourself going through a divorce? Obviously, seeking the advice of an experienced family law attorney should be at the top of your list of priorities. I offer a free initial confidential consultation where you can get all your questions answered. My focus as a family law attorney is on getting agreements in place quickly so your divorced can be finalized as rapidly and painlessly as possible.


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