Is Divorce Contagious?

By Attorney Gregg Herman
October 22, 2013


It is not uncommon in my practice to represent two (or more) family members or close friends within a reasonable proximity of time.  An article recently posted by a friend on Facebook asks the question:  Is divorce contagious?  The study quoted in the article suggests that it is.

I have a theory on the reason:  Divorce, like surgery, is a terrifying event for most people.  They are scared of the process and the lack of certainty about the outcome.  Unlike surgery, however, they are kept awake for the entire process so they see the blood and the gore.  In addition, they don’t have insurance to pay for it.

However, most people who go through divorce, after they have recovered, find that the process is not as bad (or as expensive) as they feared and that life after divorce is an improvement over life before the divorce.  Watching others survive the process is therefore a catalyst for certain other people contemplating it to pull the trigger.  The reasoning seems to be:  If s/he survived it and came out the other side in a better place, I can do the same.

This is not to say that divorce always results in an improvement in someone’s life.  Since this is not a guarantee, I rarely recommend to a potential client to file – rather, I provide the legal information which is (hopefully) helpful for them to make the decision.  But, I am continually amazed at how some people choose to remain in a very bad relationship because they are scared of the possible consequences of doing something about it.

Attorney Gregg Herman is a founding partner of Loeb & Herman, LLC in Milwaukee, WI. He practices family law exclusively, and can be reached via e-mail or by calling (414) 272-5632.