Is the tendency to divorce something that’s passed down in your genetic code, like the color of your hair or your fabulous musical talent? Studies have indicated that the children of divorced parents are more likely to divorce themselves than children whose parents stay together, so you might assume that the likelihood of divorce is something that just gets handed from generation to generation.

Except that’s not always what happens. Other studies have shown that people who lived through their parents’ high-conflict (but intact) marriages fared just as poorly with their own marital records as the children of divorced parents.

What’s that mean? It’s the amount of conflict in the parents’ marital relationship that may set the tone for what a couple’s children will experience as adults. It’s possible that the children of high-conflict marriages lack examples of how to resolve their marital disputes without a lot of screaming and fighting, which perpetuates the problem into the next generation. It’s also possible that adults who witnessed a lot of disputes between their parents simply realize that they don’t want the same kind of relationship for themselves, so they choose to cut their losses and leave volatile marriages quickly.

It’s wise to remember that divorce isn’t necessarily the bad thing — and it’s rarely as bad as staying in a high-conflict marriage that makes you (and your spouse) unhappy. The damage from a high-conflict marriage can actually cause problems for the entire family, far into the future.

If you’re ready to take control of your life and find a separate peace from your spouse, talk to a divorce attorney about your situation.