A recent study reported that couples with teenage daughters are more likely to divorce than those that have sons. This is particularly common among first-time parents of 15-year-old girls.
The reason being that this is a stressful period for parents who may have different views on how to deal with the challenging behaviour that some teenagers can exhibit. The idea that the teenage years can be difficult for children and parents alike is not a new one, and the lead-up to a child’s 13th birthday is usually peppered with parents’ predictions of an overnight personality transformation, as per Kevin the Teenager.
I cannot say that in my work as a Family Law solicitor I have noticed any patterns that suggest that having teenage girls is more likely than anything else to lead to divorce. That said, there do seem to be certain pivotal ages when people are more likely to get divorced. One of these times is when people approach their mid-40s.
A recent article in The Telegraph, highlighted nine ‘surprising factors that increase your chances of getting divorced’:
- Your husband went to a single-sex school
- You had a very expensive wedding
- You married your childhood sweetheart
- Your husband works with many members of the opposite sex
- You lived together before getting married
- Your children are close together in age
- One of you has not looked after your health
- Your husband neglects the housework
- You met online
While studies may support this, I am always wary of generalisations which over-simplify what is usually a much more complex and nuanced set of circumstances. Although some relationship breakdowns can be triggered by a single event or situation, most marriages break down as a result of both parties’ conduct. And it is often the result of a combination of things that chip away over a long period of time and which ultimately see one or both parties declaring the marriage over.
Divorce should not be an inevitability. Nor should voicing doubts about your relationship set you on a path that’s impossible to get off. Unless there’s an urgent need to get the legal steps in motion, take your time. A counsellor could help you see things a little differently. He or she may be able to suggest ways of getting your marriage back on track. In fact, we advise our clients to be as certain as they can be that their relationship really is over before embarking on divorce.
It’s also important to understand exactly what divorce would mean for you and your family. Talking to a Resolution-accredited Family Law solicitor will help you get those things straight in your mind. They will also be able to point you in the direction of support services, and talk to you about mediation as a way of resolving issues in your family. While the idea of going to see a solicitor in the early stages may seem like a big step to take, it doesn’t necessarily mark the beginning of any formal process; it could be about understanding your position, your options and your potential next steps. We often have meetings with clients simply to discuss how their life might look post-divorce. This allows clients to weigh up the pros and cons before making any major decisions.
Divorce is a huge event in any person’s life, and each divorce is unique to the people and families going through it. No one is pre-programmed to divorce, nor is divorce the only possible outcome in certain situations. As family lawyers, we support our clients as individuals in the context of their family circumstances to obtain the best outcomes.