Scientists say pre-wedding doubts can be linked with higher divorce rates

8th March 2015 by

Most family lawyers would advocate that couples who are planning to get married or enter a civil-partnership agreement should seek to protect their financial interests by negotiating a pre-nuptial agreement.

For many couples though, the merest suggestion of a pre-nup is enough to make them wary and even have doubts about the impending ceremony. However, as divorce solicitors in Brighton and London, the team at Healys LLP will attest that having a well-drafted pre-nuptial or pre-civil partnership agreement in place is more akin to sensible financial planning than being any kind of harbinger of doom.

Still, whether a couple has a pre-nup in place or not, pre-wedding nerves may well arise and in September 2012 results of a survey into this phenomenon and its links to relationship breakdown were published.

Do pre-wedding jitters mean a higher risk of divorce?

The psychology department at UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) undertook a study to determine whether doubts about getting married actually had a correlation in divorce statistics.

The cohort consisted of 232 newlywed couples (464 spouses) from Los Angeles. They were initially questioned within the first few months of marriage and then every six months after for four years. The average age of the husbands at the time of marriage was 27, and for the wives, 25.

At the first interview spouses were asked whether they were ever uncertain or hesitant about getting married – 47 per cent of husbands and 38 per cent of wives said “Yes”.

Among the women who had expressed doubts about getting married 19 per cent underwent divorce within four years of marriage, while of the women who did not express doubts or hesitancy only eight per cent went on to be divorced after four years.

In the male respondents, 14 per cent of pre-wedding doubters were divorced four years later, compared with nine per cent of the husbands who said they did not have doubts.

Researchers factored in the satisfaction levels of the relationships, whether parents were divorced, whether the spouses had cohabited before the wedding and if the engagement had been “difficult”. However, pre-wedding doubts were found to be a decisive factor in the impending divorces.

The team concluded that women who have doubts about their impending marriage are two-and-a-half times more likely to be divorced within four years than those women who do not suffer pre-wedding jitters.

The research was published in the Journal of Family Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association.

Healys family law teams in Brighton and London are here to help

If you are preparing to get married or enter into a civil-partnership our family law teams can help you in the drawing up of a pre-nup or pre-cip. We have many years’ experience in this field and know that a well-drafted document is likely to be seen by the court as indicative of a couple’s wishes in any financial claim on divorce or civil-partnership dissolution.

Or, if your relationship has broken down irretrievably our divorce solictors in Brighton and London are here to provide and expert, efficient and cost-effective service to maintain your best interests and those of any dependants.

If you wish to speak to a solicitor in Brighton please call 01273 685 888 or email an enquiry to

Alternatively the family law team in London can be reached on 020 7822 4000. We look forward to helping you.