Did you get married this year on Valentine’s Day, or are you planning to get married next year on Valentine’s Day? The statistics tell us that tying the knot on Valentine’s Day may not be a good idea. Let our Walnut Creek lawyers explain.

According to research conducted by a team of economists at the University of Melbourne, marriages that take place on Valentine’s Day and on other “special” dates are substantially more likely to end in a divorce than marriages that take place on “ordinary” days.

Is there a specific reason why Valentine’s Day marriages are more likely to end in divorce? And if you are divorcing in California, what should you know, and where can you get the legal help that you’ll need?

WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH TELL US ABOUT VALENTINE’S DAY?

The University of Melbourne researchers studied statistics for more than 1.1 million marriages in the Netherlands from 1999 through 2013. Here is what they found:

  • 6 percent of the people who marry on Valentine’s Day divorce within three years.
  • 11 percent are divorced within five years.
  • 21 percent are divorced within nine years.

valentines candy

In total, marriages that take place on Valentine’s Day are 37 percent more likely than other marriages to end in divorce. It may be that Valentine’s Day marriages are rushed into a bit more impulsively than “ordinary day” marriages.

WHAT ABOUT WEDDINGS ON OTHER “SPECIAL” DAYS?

Getting married on other special days can have similar results. After five years, 10 percent of those who marry on a “same number” date such as 09/09/09 are divorced, and after nine years, 19 percent are divorced.

Given that five times as many weddings take place on Valentine’s Day and other “special” days, this is disturbing news for anyone getting married on such a date. What is also surprising, given the numbers, is that the University of Melbourne research is the first study of its kind – ever.

The numbers are in fact shocking. In contrast to those who marry on “special” days, after five years, only 8 percent of those who marry on “ordinary” days are divorced, and after nine years, only 16 percent of those marriages have ended in divorce.

SO WHY IS VALENTINE’S DAY NOT A GOOD DAY TO GET MARRIED?

Of course, as every researcher knows, “correlation is not causation.” The date of a marriage has nothing directly to do with the success or failure of a marriage. However, researchers also looked at exactly who gets married on special days, and that look gave them some possible answers.

“We also found that spouses who married on special dates were less alike, in terms of education and ages, than spouses who married on ordinary dates,” according to co-author Dr. Jan Kabátek, the study’s co-author. Big gaps in education and age are likely to foster divorce.

The researchers, whose work was published in the Journal of Population Economics, offer this conclusion:

“The chance to marry on a special date could increase the net attractiveness of a wedding and lead to quicker and lower-quality marriage commitments, on average, which might increase the vulnerability of the resulting marriages.”

WHAT IS THE “REAL” NUMBER ONE REASON FOR DIVORCE?

If you both grew up at the same time, and if your educational achievements are roughly similar, there is no reason not to marry on Valentine’s Day. But if there’s a big gap in your ages or your educational backgrounds, you may need to reconsider, and you should not rush into a marriage.

Of course, a variety of different factors will influence whether or not a couple is likely to divorce, and the biggest factor is not the wedding date. It is no surprise that the most important factor influencing whether or not a couple will divorce is money.

Mike Lynch, a vice president at the money management firm Hartford Funds, explains, “When you’re married, you’re both responsible for debts. Anytime you add someone to the family – a partner, children – things change and it’s important to talk about the financial implications.”

SHOULD YOU JUST AVOID GETTING MARRIED?

A 2012 study published in the journal Family Relations supports Mike Lynch’s contention. Researchers studied 4,500 marriages and found that disputes over money were the leading predictor of divorce in every demographic category.

couple fighting over money

It is a finding that has been demonstrated by researchers again and again for decades. Money disputes are the top reason that people get divorced. But do financial differences mean that you shouldn’t get married?

That depends. What is important is for prospective marriage partners to discuss seriously every aspect of their finances. It is not romantic, but it is realistic, and if you are planning to marry, it is imperative. Couples should also have the counsel of a professional financial advisor.

HOW CAN A FAMILY LAW FIRM IN CALIFORNIA HELP?

Spouses-to-be may also want to have a family law attorney draft a prenuptial agreement on their behalf. Prenuptial agreements settle in advance many of the financial disputes that may arise in a divorce, such as disputes over alimony and the division of properties, assets, and debts.

prenup being signed

If you have already tied the knot, it’s not too late to have that kind of agreement. A family law attorney can help married couples create a postnuptial agreement that works exactly like a prenuptial agreement.

However, if agreements are no longer possible for you and your spouse, and if you choose to divorce here in California – or if your spouse is the one who is choosing divorce – you must reach out for sound legal advice from an experienced Walnut Creek divorce attorney.

WHEN SHOULD YOU SEEK A DIVORCE LAWYER’S ADVICE?

You’re going to need that advice as early as possible – before you file divorce papers or as soon as you are served divorce papers. You are going to need a qualified divorce lawyer to ensure that you are treated fairly and that your rights are protected at every stage of the process.

divorce court

A divorce will be a central event in your life. Its outcome will shape your future. A divorce is never easy. If your divorce is going to include a child custody dispute, it will be even more difficult.

You must protect yourself in a divorce and take advantage of your right to a good divorce lawyer’s help. If you are divorcing or expecting to divorce in California, speak to an experienced Walnut Creek divorce attorney as quickly as you can.