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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

Predict if you’ll divorce


Personally, I'd only want to predict if I would divorce, if the answer were to be "no"! But from my 25 years as a divorce lawyer I do know that many people would indeed like to predict this, especially those going into a second or third (or more) marriage.

Well, there is a high rate of divorce anyway. There is argument about how to calculate it but let's say it is about 40%. Not a good start! Experts then say these are some of the major risk factors:

Neuroticism (Kelly & Conley, 1987)

Premarital cohabitation (Thomson & Colella, 1992) 

Parental divorce (Glenn & Kramer, 1987)

Previous divorce of husbands (Aguirre & Parr, 1982)

Communication positivity/negativity (Markman, 1981)

Religious dissimilarity (Maneker & Rankin, 1993)

Not pooling finances (Kurdek, 1993)

Knowing one another only a short time before marriage (Kurdek, 1993)

Young age at time of marriage (Booth & Edwards, 1985; Martin & Bumpass, 1989)

A lack of support from friends and family for the marriage (Kurdek, 1991)

Attitude dissimilarity (Kurdek, 1993; Larson & Olson, 1989).

What do you think would be the main risk factors? Post your views below!

Andrew Woolley

Divorce Solicitor


Loading comments...

I don’t understand how “Premarital cohabitation ” would be a negative factor, or is this worded incorrectly?  My mother always stipulated she’d never approve a marital match unless i lived with the person first

By Cindy on Monday July 6, 2009

Ironic isn’t it, you would expect those that have cohabited prior to marriage to have a better chance of a successful marraige but as I understand it, the research shows that marriage preceded by cohabitiation is indeed subject to higher rates of failure and I believe that is because it is felt that there is a reduced sense of committment by cohabitees, and if this attitude is then taken into the marraige, it has a detrimental affect.  Also, that cohabitees once married expect some improvements in their standard of living when in reality little changes on a practical day to day basis….

By Sue Harwood on Tuesday July 7, 2009

I absolutely agree with Sue. In my experience, the shortest marriages that came to me having broken down were 1 week and 3 weeks long respectively. In both cases there had been a significant period of cohabitation beforehand (11 and 14 years!). Maybe the parties reached a point in there relationship when there was a problem and they thought that marrying would rectify it, when in reality there were perhaps other underlying issues that should have been addressed? Food for thought…....

By Kelly Glenn on Thursday July 9, 2009

Trying to bring in some humour I think it was said in the film “four weddings and a funeral” that one day cohabiting couples run out of things to say to each other and so one suddenly says “lets get married” as this gives them something in common to discuss and plan but then comes the “morning after” and it all falls apart….joking aside but as Kelly has highlighted above,  if the marriage was in serious difficulty or even actually over effectively before it started then this could genuinely explain the long cohabitation but very short marriage situations !...

By Alison Hill on Thursday July 9, 2009

What do you think?

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