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Did the presidential election break up marriages?

The recent presidential election sparked strong emotions and conflicts throughout New York and the rest of the country, perhaps more than any in recent history. The wide variety of economic, religious and social issues addressed and the overall negative tone pitted colleagues, neighbors, friends and even family members against one another.

One can only wonder how many marriages it broke up. Many couples can't survive having strongly-held and widely-divergent political opinions. A notable exception is Washington power couple Mary Matalin and James Carville, who both have spent decades as Republican and Democratic strategists, respectively. (However, Matalin changed her affiliation to Libertarian prior to the November election.)

One family law attorney notes that by the time most couples marry, they're familiar with their partners' views on most issues and aren't extremely far apart from one another in their beliefs, even if they don't always support the same candidates or even the same party.

The attorney notes that he sees more conflict between unmarried parents, particularly if they've never lived together as a family. Those conflicts often involve opinions about how to raise the children when the two have divergent religious and social beliefs.

While the highly-contentious election season may have been the last straw for some couples, he says that there were likely underlying issues. He notes, however, "Now that we've deemed it socially acceptable to be offensive, again, I can see a break in marital or family relationships."

Perhaps a more important question to ask is how changes made under the Trump administration will impact couples and families. With talk by candidates at all levels of government during the election about the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, Muslims and immigrants, many people are understandably nervous about what the future holds. With the future of the Affordable Care Act in question, some people may hesitate to file for divorce if it means losing their spouse's employee-sponsored insurance.

The attorney notes, "There are going to be so many unintended consequences that come out of this election, more so than in years past." Those changes can will likely impact millions of couples, whether they stay together or divorce.

Source: Columbus Underground, "Did the 2016 Presidential Election Ruin Marriages?," Dec. 21, 2016

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