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Researchers find link between divorce and social relationships

Growing up, your parents may have advised you about choosing your friends with caution. Many Illinois residents tend to pick of the habits of the people with whom they associate. This kind of behavior may extend into adulthood and even into issues such as a complex divorce. According to a new report, divorce in a circle of friends could even be considered contagious.

According to one psychotherapist, it is possible for feelings to catch on in groups of friends and family members. For example, an individual may start viewing his or her romantic relationship differently if a friend is constantly unhappy in his or her own situation. The act of behaviors and attitudes spreading among groups of individuals is also known as social contagion.

Researchers at Brown University have taken the concept one step further to understand how social contagions may apply to divorce. The study, which took roughly 30 years and involved thousands of participants, concluded that 75 percent of people are more likely to end their marriages if they have a friend who has gone through a divorce. Having a friend of a friend who is divorced can also increase the likelihood that a spouse will end the marriage.

Regardless of the impetus that drives a couple to terminate a marriage, it is important for both to have good legal representation. Situations that involve a complex asset division or another possibility for dispute require that an attorney is present to protect the best interest of his or her client.

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

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