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They think it’s all over – it is now 14/06/2016

In recent years there have been many high profile sportsmen on both the front and the back pages of newspapers. Red top tabloids revelling in the divorce, splashing big headlines in recent years regarding Tiger Woods, Gary Lineker, Colin Montgomerie, Graham Thorpe, Ray Parlour and a host of other sports stars as they split from their partners, means that many of those who play professional sport aren't just confined to the back pages any more.


But why is divorce so high amongst those who play professional sport for a living?

That depends on the sport but footballers for instance are encouraged to marry and settle down early. Clubs are keen not to have their superstars running around town to various nightclubs and, as such, encourage them to pair off at an early age. Divorce amongst those who marry at such a young age has higher rates than those who tie the knot in their later twenties.

Golfers also suffer from a higher divorce rate. Being away from home, travelling the world, playing in tournaments, let alone the practice time, means a hiatus from everyday family life and you can see why divorce rates are so high within this sporting arena.

Cricketers have the highest rates of all. A three month tour to the other side of the world, moving from hotel to hotel, means that you have to have an extremely understanding partner, especially those left behind to bring up a young family.

Professional sports stars have to be single minded, driven individuals and often this contributes to the breakup of their relationship too.

Divorce rates amongst amateur sportsmen and women are higher than average. With a game of golf lasting for four or five hours and a game of cricket lasting all day at league level, the rates of those who engage the services of a family lawyer are higher amongst those who play for fun. With regards to football, divorce rates amongst spectators who watch 'the beautiful game' are higher. Away games at the other end of the country or Europe often require long absences away from the family home.

In the United Kingdom we are seeing a trend that has been prevalent in the United States for a number of years. A sports agency across the Atlantic called Pro Athlete Direct reported in 2014 that sportsmen and women suffer from a divorce rate of 70-80%, compared to a 50% divorce rate nationally amongst those not from a sports background. In 2009 Dr Steven Ortiz from the Oregon State University set up a sociological study and found that within two years of retirement, 78% of NFL stars were jobless, divorced or bankrupt. He also added that many divorces occurred within the two years of a player retiring, citing "profit maximisation" by those married to sports stars.

The above trend might be a recent phenomenon but, for a number of decades now, it has been proved that those who play sport suffer from a higher divorce rate than those who don't.

For further information and advice on this issue, and other family law issues, please contact us for a free initial consultation on 01992 306 616 or 0207 956 2740 or email us.

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Manor Law Ltd, trading as Manor Law Family Solicitors, is a registered company in England and Wales - number 07977350, and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority - Hertford office SRA number 567506 and City of London office SRA number 568637. Copyright © Manor Law, 2016. All rights reserved.

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