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Behaviors that lead to divorce

Couples living in California may experience marital problems from time to time. While this is not unusual, long-standing attitudes and patterns of behavior can eventually take their toll on a marriage. If these actions and attitudes are not addressed, a couple may subsequently divorce.

Dr. John Gottman, an expert on why some marriages last and others don't, has noted that the No. 1 predictor of divorce is when one or both spouses have contempt for the other. Devaluing one's spouse and behaving as if his or her feelings, ideas and desires don't matter can erode the marital relationship quickly.

Spouses who hold their husbands or wives in contempt engage in a variety of behaviors, such as eye-rolling, mockery or name-calling. The target of these actions often experiences hurt and confusion at being treated by his or her spouse this way. Over time, however, the target of contempt may decide that the relationship is no longer worth his or her trouble. At that point, divorce can become a consideration.

It should be noted, however, that while Gottman's research shows contempt to be a significant factor in divorce, this is only the case when the behavior does not change. Spouses who are willing to address and improve negative behaviors by participating in individual and couples therapy have a chance of restoring the relationship.

There are situations, though, where spouses refuse to change how they treat each other. In such cases, divorce may be the best way to preserve the well-being of both parties. People who are considering divorce may want to consult with a family law attorney. The lawyer may review his or her client's case and make recommendations regarding property division, assets, child custody and ongoing support.

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