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Are You Genetically Predestined for Divorce?

Posted on : March 10, 2018

When you’re trying to walk back what may have led you to end up in a divorce attorney’s office, you might wonder whether there were signs that the relationship wasn’t all you had hoped it was. There could have been breakdowns in communication, concerns about trust and infidelity, or simply a feeling that you grew apart. But is it possible that you may have been genetically more likely to get a divorce to begin with?


As explained in a renowned 1990 study, the ability to inherit divorce is estimated at approximately 50%. This means that it’s more than just the bad relationship that could contribute to your divorce risks. It could, in fact, be genetic but there are many different environmental factors that may influence your likelihood to divorce. The genome-wide association study is used to identify certain genes but no study has yet been completed for the alleged divorce gene. It’s unlikely that the study would ever be able to accomplish this because divorce is considered a complex outcome because there are so many different genes and traits that may ultimately influence whether or not someone stays married or gets a divorce. Right now, psychologists and scientists are completing studies to look at how neurotic a person tends to be or whether or not they have alcohol or drug issues.

These genetic factors could be a cause of divorce despite not having the actual divorce gene present. Some services out there help to quantify how prevalent divorce has been in your family tree, such as Progeny. This mapping may give you a better idea of the environmental and genetic risks that you could have for a divorce. The divorce gene, if it is ever discovered and clearly studied, may not totally determine your destiny. If you are already contemplating getting a divorce, setting aside time to talk to a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the process can help.

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