Till Trump do us part: The president's effect on US marriages

By Personal Finance23FOXBusiness

While love is in the air for many this Valentine’s Day, many married couples are still quarreling over their political views and more specifically, the commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump, a year later, causing them to split as result.

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“Nothing has changed in the past few months. Couples still have not altered their political affiliations and those who prefer President Trump still do so,” Lois Brenner, a New York-based divorce attorney, told FOX Business.

Last May, FOX Business first reported this trend with data from Wakefield Research, an Arlington, Virginia-based polling firm, that found one in 10 couples (married or unmarried) ended their relationships over political disagreements, with millennials parting ways at a particularly high rate of 22%.

Lisa Johnson Kiefer, managing director of Wakefield Research, said the May study was conducted to explore how relationships are impacted by current events.

“We wanted to understand how, if at all, the current political environment was impacting romantic relationships,” Kiefer said, adding the research group hasn’t been able to conduct a new survey since then.

The previous survey, however, which was conducted nationwide with 1,000 participants from April 12 to April 18, found that 22% of Americans know a couple whose marriage or relationship “has been negatively impacted specifically due to President Trump’s election.” In fact, Wakefield said that 24% of Americans in a relationship or marriage report that since Trump was elected, “they and their partner have disagreed or argued about politics more than ever.”

Brenner said in her 35 years of matrimonial practice, she has never seen so many couples split over a political disagreement as she has seen with President Trump and his election.

“Spouses still use their differences about Trump to continue to fight with each other in the divorce process,” she said. “The central truth today is that divorce is essentially a psychological experience. When I work with divorcing couples, in addition to considering the law, I help people identify personality traits, family dynamics and behavior modifications to develop strategies for a more positive experience. Couples are unlikely to change each other’s political affiliations.”

Wakefield added that while finances are a common dispute for couples, last year from January to May, more than one in five Americans in a relationship or marriage report having more disagreements over Trump’s policies than money woes.

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Yet, Deborah Blum, another New York-based divorce attorney, argues that while we are living in a highly politicized environment right now, which could be a “tipping point” for couples, it’s not the driving force.

“My clients have a myriad of issues that lead to the dissolution of their relationship,” Blum said.