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Is divorce genetic?

For years, there has been a connection linking divorce rates between parents and their kids showing that "divorce runs in the family". Studies conducted have suggested that the link stems from raising a child in a divorce household, which exposes them to the experience of divorce.

However, recent research suggests that it is not necessarily the environment in which children are raised that can increase their likelihood of divorce: it's their genetics.

What the research examined

Researchers examined national registry data from Sweden, primarily focusing on people who had been adopted. They looked at the rates of divorce in their biological families and their adoptive families to see which the children resembled with regard to divorce histories.

What the research found

Surprisingly, the research found that adopted children were more likely to resemble the divorce histories of their biological families than their adoptive families. In other words, the researchers found a genetic link that appears to be more important in predicting divorce than the household in which a child is raised.

What these results mean

These results challenge existing beliefs that while divorce may run in families, it may not be for the reasons we think. Rather than thinking a child is more likely to divorce because he or she was raised in a divorced household, we might instead look at the genetic factors that connect a child to his or her parents.

This genetic link can prove to be helpful when couples or individuals are going through counseling before or during a marriage, as it can help counselors address genetic traits that could prove to be problematic for relationships.

Of course, there is no exact science or statistic when it comes to predicting divorce. However, this research might give you some perspective on your own decision to divorce and help you find a connection between your situation and your parents' situation if they are also divorced.

Keep in mind, though, that you are not your parents, and your divorce experience is not the same as anyone else's. As such, it can be crucial to work with an attorney who can advocate for you and secure resolutions that reflect your best interests.

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