Donna Dougherty Law P.C.

Funny name, potentially serious consequences

There are many reasons Virginia couples may be considering divorce, from infidelity to spousal or substance abuse. In today’s rapidly changing computerized world, things like social media and technology may also contribute to marital unhappiness. It is important to take into consideration that any divorce, no matter the cause, will likely be subject to the division of marital property, child custody and other common disputes.

A recent study in the journal Computers in Human Behavior revealed that the use of a cellphone may be destructive to relationships. Informally named “phubbing,” which is a combination of the words “phone” and “snubbing,” the behavior of being preoccupied with one’s phone, instead of the other partner, can lead to dissatisfaction in relationships.

About 46 percent of the participants in the study said they’d been phubbed by their partners, and 22 percent admitted it created conflict. Some of the most common phubbing behaviors include one partner keeping the phone in hand while with the other partner, putting the phone within sight, frequently looking at the phone during conversations or checking the phone during a lull in the conversation. A partner’s preoccupation with text messaging and social media, the most frequent actions taken on a smartphone, reportedly led to depression, decreased levels of life satisfaction and reduced levels of satisfaction in the relationship.

Constant preoccupation with electronic devices while paying little attention to one’s spouse can have a devastating effect on a marriage. In turn, monetary and property division issues like dividing assets and determining alimony may be the natural followers of placing more importance on a cellphone than on maintaining a healthy relationship.

Source: Huffington Post, "How Cell Phones Hurt Your Relationship," Eric Fluckey, Oct. 1, 2015

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