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Phoenix AZ Family Law Blog

Monday, March 11, 2019

Can taking a premarital prep course prevent a future divorce?

How do you know if you are really prepared for marriage? Is there a course you can take to increase the chance that you will not get divorced? 

Phoenix divorce attorneys have seen it all and would not be surprised by the results of a recent study outlining the 11 most common reasons for divorce. 

The study was conducted on couples who had gotten divorced 14 years after taking a premarital course called PREP. The idea behind PREP-- a “prevention and relationship enhancement program”—is that it teaches engaged couples “communication and conflict resolution skills” prior to their marriage so they can use these skills and presumably remain married.

Some may even wonder if couples attending such a course before marriage might have already experienced (or expect to experience) problems with their communication and conflict resolution capabilities—and that’s what led them to seek help.

The study noted not only the reasons participants cited for their divorces, but also the percentage of participants who cited each of these factors. 

  • Ironically, “little or no premarital education and religious differences”, at 13.3%, took the 11th and 10th spots.
  • 9th was a lack of family support, at 17.3%.
  • 8th was health problems and associated debt, at 18.2%.
  • 7th was “domestic violence, at a frightening 23.5%”.
  • Also concerning was substance abuse, at 34.6%, which was ranked 6th. In addition, over 12% of those asked if there was a “last straw” cited this was it.
  • 5th was financial problems, at 36.1%, including having conflicting “money styles” such as saver vs. spendthrift couples.
  • Married too young came in 4th at 45.1%.
  • Ironically, number 3 was “too much conflict and arguing” which a whopping 57.7% cited, despite having taken the PREP course.
  • Not surprisingly, extra-marital affairs or infidelity took the number 2 spot, with 59.6% of participants claiming it was a factor. In fact, it was the most common “final straw” cited.
  • And the number 1 reason the PREP participants cited for divorcing was “lack of commitment” to each other, which came in at 75%, impacting three out of four divorces. 

While state laws differ, most states don’t require that couples plead a fault-based reason for wanting a divorce. Claiming the marriage is “irretrievably broken” is generally enough to file for divorce in no-fault divorce states like Arizona. 

If you would like assistance filing for divorce or have been served with divorce papers, or have any questions regarding any area of family law, the experts at Cohen Family Law can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

From our office in Phoenix, we represent clients throughout Arizona routinely handling all aspects of family law. We are skilled in conflict resolution whether through mediation, arbitration, or when necessary, litigation.


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