The 6 Most Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced2 Jan 2018 | Lisa Pepper
Following the UK’s transition to a no-fault divorce system, couples no longer need to identify a particular wrongdoing as a ground to end their marriage legally.
But while the legal divorce process may be simpler, the decision to go through with it is as difficult and complex as ever. Couples may decide to end their marriage for many reasons, whether they’ve experienced a one-time major betrayal like an affair or a gradual erosion of the relationship over time. Often, it’s a combination of factors that causes couples to drift apart.
Here are six of the most commonly cited reasons why people separate.
Unfaithfulness is a leading cause of divorce, whether through physical or emotional betrayal. When one partner discovers that their spouse has engaged in an emotional or sexual relationship with someone else, trust and respect can be irrevocably damaged.
Even if the straying partner apologises and begs for forgiveness, the betrayed partner may be unable to move past the act. That’s why adultery was the second most cited ground for divorce (after unreasonable behaviour) that you could use to show that your marriage had irretrievably broken down.
2. Lack of connection and commitment
While a thousand romantic comedies are built on the idea that opposites attract, in reality, couples need to feel they have something in common with their partner and are truly committed to having a happy, healthy marriage. There needs to be a “meeting of minds” for couples to stay together and put effort into the relationship.
Differences easily overlooked in the first flush of romantic passion can become more pronounced over time. If couples don’t do the work and find ways to bridge their differences, the bond between them can quickly deteriorate. One large-scale U.S. survey found that a staggering 73.2% of divorcing couples identified a lack of commitment as the main cause of their marital breakdown.
3. Money trouble
Around one in 10 couples split due to rows about money. But it’s not money trouble that pushes couples towards the divorce courts – it’s that couples have different ideas about managing the family’s finances. For example, one partner may be irresponsible with money and spend beyond their means, while the other prefers to save for a rainy day. Or one partner may be trying to control their spouse’s spending habits.
Different perspectives on finance aren’t usually a problem when a couple has financial stability. But the value difference can become more apparent if they face financial difficulties. Financial incompatibilities can also complicate negotiating financial settlements in divorce, making it crucial for couples to seek expert legal advice.
4. Poor communication
Poor communication comes in all shapes and sizes from constant arguing to sweeping problems under the rug to flat-out lying. But it all has the same result: couples who don’t talk to each other will find their relationship deteriorating quickly.
Communication is one of those issues that has cascading consequences. It can give rise to feelings of incompatibility, neglect, bitterness and resentment that can become overwhelming if left unchecked. Sometimes, couples can work on their communication problems and develop a healthy relationship again. In others, the lack of communication can be so severe that divorce becomes the only solution.
Where communication has deteriorated to a point of no return, couples may find mediation a useful tool in divorce negotiations.
5. Growing apart
Couples who have been together for many years can find themselves becoming more like strangers as they drift apart from each other. People change, and the activities and interests they once shared no longer hold a place in their lives, leaving them feeling lonely, sad or disconnected.
The process of children growing up and leaving the family home can often act as a catalyst for couples to assess the state of their relationship. This stage of life, called ’empty nest syndrome,’ leaves couples with abundant free time and a reduced set of parental obligations. Some couples embrace this time and reconnect on a deeper level. For others, it can amplify previously ignored pre-existing issues, leading many to realise that their relationship is not as strong as it once was.
Abuse can take many forms and may include:
- Domestic violence where one partner physically harms the other.
- Emotional abuse where one partner belittles or criticises the other with hurtful words and actions.
- Coercive control where one partner seeks to control the other by manipulating or restricting their behaviour.
These types of abuse can cause long-term psychological trauma, leaving the victim feeling scared, isolated and unable to trust their partner. In such cases, divorce could be the only way for victims to regain control of their lives and find safety and security.
In the old fault-based divorce system, any abuse would have been evidence of unreasonable behaviour to show that the marriage had irretrievably broken down.
Talk to a divorce solicitor.
If you and your partner are facing any of these issues in your marriage, it may be time to consider whether a divorce is the right decision. Our specialist divorce solicitors can help make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible, as well as signpost you to any additional resources that may be available. With the right support, you may be able to save your marriage and avoid going through a divorce.
Whatever decision you make, it’s important to get the right advice and support so you can move forward in the best way possible.
If you would like to discuss the situation further and get some free initial advice, contact us today. Our experienced solicitors are here to help.
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