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Be wise about marriage, divorce

January has been called the divorce month, with divorce filings typically spiking from Jan. 12-16. It is estimated that 41 percent of all first marriages will end in divorce and, unfortunately, the divorce rate for second marriages increases to 60 percent, and to 73 percent for third marriages. So, it becomes obvious that before you get married, you should discuss the availability of a pre-nuptial agreement with a family law attorney. Agreeing to financial arrangements before the marriage can prevent disputes later. 

Many factors seem to impact the likelihood that a couple will get a divorce, but it seems obvious that stressors in the marriage increase the likelihood of divorce. For instance, couples who have a baby before marriage increase the risk of divorce by 24 percent, and couples who argue about finances at least once a week are 30 times more likely to divorce. 

Interestingly, the success of your parents’ marriage seems to be a factor. The risk of divorce is 50 percent higher when one spouse comes from a divorced home, and 200 percent higher when both partners had divorced parents. 

Fortunately, when a divorcing couple works with a family law attorney, they are able to settle the issues between the parties, or in a mediation, in 95 percent of cases. So, if you find yourself in the common position of desiring to end your marriage, a family law attorney can help in a majority of cases to reach a desirable resolution for each party. 

Kathy Brown van Zutphen of Coastwide Law LLC is an attorney licensed to practice law in Alabama and Mississippi. She focuses on the “elder law” areas of trusts, estates and conservatorships. Additionally, she litigates lawsuits and represents small business owners as part of her legal practice. Visit to learn more or reach her at her office: (228) 357-5227.

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