Tabloids and blogs often publish eye-grabbing headlines like “Top 10 Reasons Men in California Get Divorced” or “3 Things Men Who Succeed in Child Custody Battles Have in Common.”
When you see such stories, take them with a grain of salt. Often, they flow from a common error made by scientists or journalists alike: confusing correlation with causation.
In other words, just because two phenomena “go together” doesn’t mean that one caused the other. For a classic example of this, Google the phrase “organic food sales versus autism graph.” Over the past decade or so, the sales of organic foods correlate almost perfectly with the rise in childhood autism. No one sensible person would argue that autism caused more people to buy organic food… or that eating more organic food somehow causes autism.
The fact is that the trend lines correlate well is due to random chance. In some cases, correlations actually do, ultimately, imply causation. For instance, people who smoke tend to be at higher risk for lung cancer. Science pretty convincingly suggests that smoking does cause lung cancer. However, tons of counterexamples abound as well. In other words, associations often turn out not to be causal.
So the next time you read an article that says “men with beards tend not to get divorced” or “woman with college degrees who drive white cars and live in Montana tend not to get divorced” don’t sell your California home, move to Montana and buy a white car in the hopes that doing so will keep your marriage together!
For help understanding your rights and potential remedies for a California divorce or child custody issue, call the Dinnebier & Demmerle team today for a consultation.