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More Pro Athletes Tackle Divorce Than Domestic Violence: Report

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

Athletes accused of domestic violence make for sensational headlines, but a new statistic shows that divorce may actually occupy much more of the average pro athlete's home life.

According to The New York Times and Sports Illustrated, the divorce rate for professional athletes is somewhere between 60 and 80 percent -- much higher than the 50 percent estimated for all Americans, reports Forbes.

But does this downplay the impact of domestic violence among pro athletes? Here's some legal insght:

Domestic Violence Is Still an Issue

It would be irresponsible to take an increased divorce percentage as a reason to downplay or discount the effect of domestic violence for athletes. In fact, within the last few days we were reminded that those who make their living hitting others in sport may turn on those closest to them. The MMA fighter known as "War Machine" is, as of Friday, still on the run from police after his girlfriend was sent to the hospital with 18 broken bones and internal injuries.

But domestic abuse isn't limited to boxers, fighters, or even male athletes. U.S. women's soccer star Hope Solo was arrested in late June after allegedly assaulting both her sister and nephew while intoxicated. This should remind us that domestic violence isn't limited to abuse perpetrated on significant others, it affects most intimate relations.

If not statistically relevant, perhaps one of the reasons why pro athletes get a bad rap for domestic violence is their often-cavalier attitude toward abuse allegations. For example, baseball legend Jose Canseco infamously taunted and provoked his rape accuser via Twitter, revealing her name and posting scantily-clad photos of her.

When Pro Athletes Get Divorced

Although divorce affects pro athletes more than average Americans, it may be because there is a good deal at stake. Because of the millions of dollars involved in many pro athletes' careers, many insist on prenups, making a divorce settlement that much easier. In fact, even those who plan to get married to pro athletes may have prenups on their minds.

Divorce may seem a larger issue too when child custody and support orders have to take into account an ex-spouse/pro athlete who may be in a different state.

Remember, pro athletes have access to excellent attorneys who can attempt to keep their personal business private, which may make it easier to say yes to a split.

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