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Could 'one for the road' lead to divorce?

A marriage can break down for a variety of reasons. Citing domestic violence or a betrayal of trust may be common, but whatever the reason, alcohol is often a factor in some way. In particular, a difference in drinking patterns -- or in attitudes toward alcohol generally -- may contribute more to reasons for divorce than people realize. This theory has been given some weight due to a recent study conducted by a leading university, and the findings could well apply to California marriages.

The study suggests that the likelihood of divorce is lower where both partners in the relationship have similar views and drinking patterns. This is reportedly so whether both partners are consumers or abstainers. It is when there is an imbalance between the two parties that the problems occur. This may be due to the difference in their respective social lives, or it may simply be an indicator of incompatible lifestyles. When conflict starts to rear its head, it may help if both parties examine their true feelings to see if a compromise can be reached.

If feelings and emotions run too high, then divorce mediation may be of help. A mediator is a neutral third-party who does not act as an attorney for either party but strives to facilitate calm discussion between the two parties. This may allow the couple to find a way to avoid further conflict and hopefully help to diffuse some of the tension and anxiety they face as they begin to accept that they have reached a parting of the ways.

California is a no-fault divorce state, which means that the court will not assign blame to either party for the dissolution of the marriage. Issues such as spousal support, child custody and distribution of community assets do not form part of the grounds for divorce, the primary grounds being irreconcilable differences. Mediation may help the couple reach agreements and compromise faster and potentially reduce time spent in court.

Source: NBC News, Divorce is more likely when one spouse drinks more than the other, Ashley Balcerzak, Dec. 26, 2013

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