How families influence relationship breakdown

January 13, 2015  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

A 2014 survey revealed that families can have significant influence on whether or not a couple gets divorced, with over 60% of respondents reporting that family members played a part in their decision. The survey canvassed 2,007 divorced British adults, looking into the different ways family members can affect the breakdown of a relationship. The results showed that a couple’s family members often play a large part in their decision to split – or stay together:

  • The majority of respondents said that families on both sides had an impact on their relationships, with their partner’s family having as much if not more influence on their final decision. In fact, 74% found that their ex valued the opinions of their family more than their own;
  • 44% of those surveyed said they had never got on with their ex’s family, while 1 in 4 said that they were ignored by their in-laws;
  • 10% of respondents were prompted to end their marriage by a sibling, while 6% were influenced by their children. Overall, mothers on both sides were the most influential in whether a relationship ended or not.
  • 3 in 10 reported being unhappy with their relationship before family members drew attention to the problem, and 67% said they were glad that their family offered their opinions as it helped them to make the decision to end their marriage;
  • Families were most likely to influence divorce by pointing out differences between the couple, criticising a loved one’s partner, or refusing to spend time with them.

Couples often find themselves under pressure from family members on both sides which can create tension within a relationship, make one or both members feel isolated, or make resolving issues more difficult. However, as the survey demonstrates, families are likely to be correct in their perception of a broken relationship, while couples are often unwilling to face up to the problems within their marriage until they reach breaking point, or are worried what their parents or friends might say. It may be difficult to admit that your mother was right about your partner after all, but it may be worth listening to her opinion!

When you’re going through a divorce your family can be a valuable source of support and comfort, but it’s important to separate their advice from the guidance of your solicitor. Let your divorce lawyer help you through the logistics of separation and keep the emotional side of your relationship at home – your family know you best, but your solicitor knows how to negotiate the process of divorce with minimal stress and antagonism. As much as family members may mean well, their involvement in the logistics of separation be more of a hindrance than a help.

For expert legal advice in Windsor, Marlow, Henley, Beaconsfield, Maidenhead and the whole of the Thames Valley, make an appointment with the friendly family lawyers at Frances Lindsay & Co.

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