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Is there an epidemic of divorce in Georgia?

Most everyone in Georgia has heard the statistics regarding divorce. It is estimated that nearly half of all marriages in this country end in divorce. As a result, there have been a number of studies done in an attempt to determine if there are any commonalities among couples that get divorced.

One group of researchers used data from a well-known Boston area heart study to draw its conclusions. This study originated in 1948 and has tracked the same control group since that time to gather information regarding heart disease. Interviews (including medical histories), a physical exam and lab tests are done approximately every two years. Another generation was included in the study in 1971. This generation is re-interviewed approximately every four years.

The subjects of this study work well for researchers looking for divorce commonalities since it is a close-knit community, and nearly every participant has more than 10 relatives or close friends in the Framingham, Massachusetts area where the study has been conducted. After examining behavior within this group versus health, researchers found some interesting data. That data suggests there could be an epidemic of divorce in our country akin to contracting a contagious disease.

New data shows that individuals with a close friend or relative who has gotten a divorce have a 75 percent greater chance of becoming divorced themselves. If the divorced person is friends with a friend of the control subject, the change of getting a divorce drops to 33 percent. Researchers say that this is an indication that a person's social interactions can influence whether he or she stays married. Unfortunately, the study's participants do not necessarily reflect the general population, so the results of this new study may not be applicable to a majority of the country.

It is possible that seeing a friend or acquaintance "survive" divorce will give someone else the courage to end his or her marriage. If that is the case, then there will be several issues to resolve before a Georgia divorce is finally secured. Property division, spousal maintenance, child support and child custody,are among the issues that may have to be resolved prior to completing the divorce process.

Source: Pew Research Center, Is divorce contagious?, Rich Morin, Oct. 21, 2013

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