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Study: Parents of Teen Girls More Likely to Divorce

 Posted on November 11, 2017 in Divorce Rate

Lombard family law attorneyMarried couples get divorced for an endless variety of reasons. For some, infidelity may an issue while financial stresses drive others apart. Of course, there are often many factors that play into a couple’s decision to end their marriage, and researchers are always trying to identify trends that could help married couples recognize possible red flags. According to several recent studies, however, a first-born daughter could be one of the potential warning signs.

Australian Team Studies Dutch Families

Dr. Jan Kabatek and Dr. David Rebar, faculty members at the University of Melbourne, conducted one such study. The pair examined more than two million marriages in the Netherlands over the course of 10 years. They chose the Netherlands because Dutch marriage and family records are very comprehensive and provide exact dates of marriages, divorces, and births. Other, similar studies have been based on participant’s responses to surveys—which rely on memory and recollection as opposed to objective data.

The study found that the risk of divorce for married parents increased as their children got older, but the risk was the same for parents of boys and girls until the children reached about age 12. From ages 13 to 18, however, the risk went up more for parents of first-born girls than that of the parents of first-born boys. On average, the risk of divorce was found to be about 5 percent higher for parents of girls during that period, with a peak of about 10 percent at age 15. If parents can weather the teen years, the risks go back to being even at age 19.

The team also compared their findings to those generated in other studies, including research that looked at American married couples and unmarried Dutch couples in “de facto relationships.” Both groups showed an increased risk for divorce—or breakup—associated with teen daughters.

Possible Causes

The researchers acknowledged that there was no way to determine what caused the increased risk, but they offered a few observations. One possible explanation could be the often difficult relationships between adolescent girls and their parents. The team cited separate research that looked at Dutch families and their attitudes toward marriage and parenting. In that survey, parents of teen girls were more likely to disagree on how to raise their children and expressed more accepting attitudes toward divorce. The same study also found that teen daughters reported relatively worse relationships with their fathers than with their mothers.

Contact Us for Help

Of course, having a teenage girl is not an automatic indicator that you are destined for divorce. There is a wide range of other considerations that could influence your decision to stay together or to end your marriage. If you ultimately decide to pursue a divorce, it is important to seek guidance from an experienced Lombard divorce lawyer. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation today.



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