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Resolving disputes creatively

Research finds divorce may be "contagious"

Statistically speaking, New York has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country. However, given that the national divorce rate is almost 50 percent, it is not uncommon to hear of a couple splitting up. The end of a marriage is a sad event which raises serious questions regarding child custody and property distribution. Therefore, an open and productive discussion regarding the many issues may lead to an amicable dispute resolution.

A recent study conducted by a reputed university came up with some startling results. It suggested that divorce as a phenomenon is somewhat contagious. The divorce of a friend or a loved one increases the likelihood of one getting a divorce.

The study showed that 75 percent of the participants might opt to get divorced if a friend chooses to end their marriage. Thirty-three percent might choose to end their marriage even if a friend of a friend got divorced.

According to researchers, this 'social contagion' is a result of the propagation of behaviors, attitudes and information within a network of friends, family and relatives. A psychotherapist's take on the subject did not directly concur with the 'contagion' theory of divorce, although it was pointed out that emotions might have a big part to play in the phenomenon. Being in the proximity of someone who is unhappy with their marital relationship might make one view their own marriage critically.

Married people interviewed regarding the findings from the study were divided in their opinions. Some agreed that another couple's split should not have an impact on their own relationship. Some others pointed out that associating with people going through a divorce might cause one to identify with the situation and draw parallels which may not be realistic.

The emotional stress and financial challenges of a split could be alleviated through successful divorce mediation. An experienced divorce attorney may be able to provide guidance for resolving divorce issues.

Source: CBS New York, "New Study Says Divorce Can Be Contagious," April 30, 2014

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