Divorce: Is it genetic?

Making the decision to divorce is often painful and upsetting. People can feel overwhelmed by grief, anger and feelings of failure, and this can make the legal process of divorce that much more difficult to manage.

However, before you come down too hard on yourself in this situation, understand that divorce can be the best option for people under certain circumstances. And in fact, recent research that divorce may actually be genetic.

What the study found

Researchers analyzed adult children in Sweden who had been adopted. Their goal was to assess whether the people were more likely to follow in the footsteps of their biological or adoptive parents with regard to divorce.

They discovered that children were more likely to resemble their biological parents, not their adoptive parents, in terms of their divorce history. This, they argue, suggests there is a genetic element in the so-called transmission of divorce.

How this challenges previous notions of divorce

These findings deviate from the current narrative regarding children of divorce, which supports the idea that people are predisposed to divorce if they grew up in a divorced household. When a person grows up with his or her biological parents, this makes sense. However, the fact that adopted children do not grow up with biological parents and still mimic their divorce behaviors suggests that it may be an issue of nature, not nurture.

What this means for you if you are divorcing

There is no statistic or magic formula that can determine with certainty what trajectory a marriage may take. Though, studies like this can help alleviate some of the difficult feelings you may have by attempting to explain why some people may be more likely to go through a divorce than others are.

Regardless of why you are ending a marriage or the genetics that may or may not be involved, getting divorced is a difficult process that people struggle to get through. Thankfully, you do not have to do this alone. You can work with an attorney who can help you navigate the legal system more easily so that you can stay focused on your well-being and your future.