Written by attorney Bryan L. Salamone

Plastic Surgery: Does it lead to divorce, or is it done in preparation for being divorced

The dramatic transformations resulting from the various stomach stapling, waistband surgeries have become the subject of dozens of divorces. We began noticing the affects of plastic surgery in a divorce case from approximately the mid to late 1990s. At that time, several cases appeared to blame a spouse's plastic surgery and physical transformation as the cause of their eventual divorce.

In one memorable case in the 1990s, a plastic surgery patient had undergone a dramatic physical transformation. The person's weight had dramatically reduced over 150 pounds and this woman was transformed into the type of woman that would cause strangers and passersby to gawk and stare. When she came to the firm, she was stunning. It was unimaginable that she used to weigh 150 pounds more. What seemed more apparent were her husband and her children's hatred for the change to her.

This case began a series of cases whereby the spouse and the children began to blame the divorce itself on a person's change of attitude after plastic surgery. The cases centered on the fact that after plastic surgery, a person felt differently about themselves and treated others differently. It was claimed that the person who had plastic surgery then became bitter towards the remaining family members and even blamed them for their prior weight and/or appearance. This is what we commonly saw.

In the mid to late nineties, these attitudes progressed so that after a dramatic physical transformation, a person sought to continue to transform themselves. They transformed their attitude and outlook and often times they blamed their spouses and their children for allowing them to perpetuate the weight gain in the past and/or the lack of attention to their physical features. They wanted a new life and they start a divorce.

In most all of these cases divorce was not generally contemplated until after the dramatic physical transformation had occurred. It was after the dramatic transformation that the person seemed to want to transform everything in their lives. They changed their clothing and hairstyles; dressed differently; took different positions at work; obtained new social contacts and entertained different social activities that were not previously available to them because of their previous size or lack of physical ability.

Today, there has been a shift. What we are noticing at the firm of Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C., is that there is a different attitude towards plastic surgery and divorce. In the past, physical enhancements caused the attitude change that led to the divorce. Now, when someone is contemplating a divorce, they often prepare for the divorce. Preparing for the divorce may mean using joint marital funds, or even separate funds, to enhance themselves physically in preparation of being separated and/or divorced and becoming single.

Indeed, it was formerly the rule that plastic surgery occurred before the thought of divorce. Now the divorce thought is coming before the plastic surgery. People are attending to their physical enhancements prior to seeking a divorce. They are preparing for a divorce both physically, as well as, financially and emotionally. This is possibly because plastic surgery has become more affordable and more accessible to virtually everyone, together with the capability of the average person to research and reach out to plastic surgeons and appearance enhancement professionals using the internet, cell phones and during their work day. It has become more socially acceptable and less of a "red flag" for a spouse to want to enhance themselves. It is the spouse that is left behind who often does not realize what the true meaning was for liposuction, hair replacement, waist band surgery and/or breast enhancement.

Clearly, there have been dozens and dozens of people coming to our office since 2005 claiming that they should have seen the sign. These clients says that when their spouse started to dress differently; enhance themselves physically, either by surgery or augmentation, they should have known that this enhancement was not to improve the marriage but to improve that person's physical appearance and social life post divorce.

Marriage is a union without secrets. For every major decision, whether it is medical, physical or otherwise, there should be, as a result of discussions, a meeting of the minds. If one partner in the marriage wants to drastically change their appearance, this should be discussed and there should be an agreement.

A recent poll shows that smokers are more likely to get divorced and that health conscious individuals are less likely to get divorced if both spouses in the marriage are health conscious. If one spouse is healthy and/or improving themselves physically, and the other is not, that is the exact disparity of attitudes and values that can cause a marriage to deteriorate. If you are in a marriage and your spouse is dramatically improving their appearance and enhancing themselves while you are not, ask yourself this: How will that spouse look at me and regard me after they have changed, and is my spouse preparing for life after divorce?

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