Double trouble: Parents with twins are more prone to divorce

Over the past several decades, more and more couples who once thought it impossible to have children are now starting families thanks to advancements in the treatment of infertility. One particularly interesting aspect of these advancements is that the prevalence of couples having twins is now higher than in years past (3 to 4 percent of births are twins).

In light of this rise in the number of twin births, a group of researchers set out to study what effect it is having on marriage. Specifically, whether couples with twins are likely to divorce than their counterparts with multiple children born during separate pregnancies.

In order to find answers, Dr. Anupam Jena and several fellow researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital focused on 1980 census data gathered on more than 800,000 families. This data was selected because it largely pre-dated the dawn of fertility treatments and was the last census to contained detailed information on twin births.

According to the study, recently published in the medical publication Obstetrics & Gynecology, couples whose first-born kids were twins were approximately 1 percent more likely to divorce than couples with only one child born during their first pregnancy.

(Specifically, researchers found that 13 percent of mothers with a single child born during their first pregnancy were divorced while 14 percent of mothers with twins born during their first pregnancy were divorced.)

While Dr. Jena and his fellow researchers could not pinpoint an exact reason for the slight rise in divorces among parents of twins, they did speculate that financial and physical pressures could play a significant role.

To illustrate, raising two children at once can be more expensive, meaning parents can’t spread out payments for necessities or pass clothes/toys/cribs down to successive children. In addition, the double workload of caring for two children at once can lead to stress, fatigue and an inability to communicate.

Dr. Jena was hopeful that the study would provide valuable guidance to pediatricians.

“[It would be helpful] to have a little more insight, and pay a little bit more attention to some of the family dynamics that can occur,” he said.

As for the stresses facing the parents of twins, experts advise acknowledging the difficulty, and making sure to take care of their physical and mental wellbeing.

“Having [twins] is going to be challenging, even for the most well-adjusted people,” said Dr. John Moore, a pediatrician at Virginia Tech-Carilion Medical School. “Don’t make yourself feel guilty about feeling stressed and feeling tired. Give yourself a break.”

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about dissolution of marriage or life after divorce, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

Parents of twins slightly more likely to divorce (Reuters)