Divorcess influence marriage breakdowns of friends

18 October 2013

Almost a quarter of men considering divorce are influenced by the demise of their friends’ relationship.

Big life decisions like getting married and deciding to have children often have a snowball effect among groups of friends, but new research from The Co-operative Legal Services shows that this ‘ripple effect’ also applies to break-ups and divorce – with men the most likely to be influenced by their mates.

When making decisions about divorce, 23% of British men who have either been divorced or considered splitting-up admit to having been swayed by friends who were already separated or divorced themselves.

The research found that men are disproportionately more influenced by their single friends than women when it comes to calling time on their relationships. Only 15% of women who have been divorced or considered it say that they were swayed by their divorced or separated friends – almost 10% less than their male counterparts.

Men are also slightly more influenced by divorced or separated family members, with over one-in-ten (11%) saying their divorce decision had been swayed by a relative, compared to 9% of women.

While ONS figures tell us that on average people file for divorce after 11-and-a-half years of marriage, the reasons for being influenced are wide-ranging. 16% of both men and women said they realised they had many of the same problems in their own relationship, and 11% admitted that they wanted the same happiness as the newly single people they knew.

Christina Blacklaws, Director of Policy at The Co-operative Legal Services said:

“It’s human nature to look to others for reassurance when it comes to relationships. When one couple splits up, others often notice the cracks in their own relationship, leading to a ripple effect throughout a social circle or family.”

“If it does reach a point where divorce or separation is the only option, it’s important to remember that all relationships are unique. We encounter many people who expect the same divorce process as their friends, but quickly find that their situation is very different. Be clear about your options as soon as you can by seeking legal advice from a trusted source.”

The survey also revealed that despite popular belief about celebrity culture having a damaging impact on attitudes to divorce, only 1% of people admit that a high profile celebrity break-up has put their relationship into question. In addition, only 4% confessed that a TV or soap storyline has cast doubt on their relationship.

Overall, it’s people we know personally who are more likely to influence us, with 7% having been told that their own break-up influenced someone they know to call time on their relationship.

For further information about breaking up and free initial legal advice, visit:



  1. Interviews with Christina Blacklaws are available on request.
  2. Consumer omnibus survey conducted by Vision Critical. Fieldwork took place from 7-10 June 2013. Sample size was 2004 adults in the UK, who were questioned about a subset of 15 professions. The survey was carried out online.

About The Co-operative Legal Services

The Co-operative Legal Services was established in 2006. Last year it became the first major consumer brand to be granted alternative business structure (ABS) status under the new Legal Services Act. The Co-operative Legal Services’ offers the following services:

  • Family law
  • Wills
  • Probate
  • Personal injury
  • Employment law
  • Conveyancing (through panel firms)

The Co-operative Legal Services seeks to offer fixed fees to its customers wherever it can, meaning that they almost always know exactly what the costs involved will be and can manage them more effectively. Customers can ask as many questions as necessary to understand the legal services required to move on with their lives.

For further information, visit: http://www.co-operative.coop/legalservices

For further information please contact:

Craig Noonan
PR Business Lead – Non-Food
The Co-operative Group
Tel: 0161 767 4284
Mobile: 07702 505439