Are you recently engaged? Perhaps you’ve never given too much thought to divorce until marriage becomes real for you! Whether in your personal life or the media, you’re likely to hear about divorce everywhere you go. From divorce lawyer commercials to billboards on the highway, divorce is a real and prevalent issue in our society.
So, what causes and leads to divorce? Divorce is a big deal that can look different in every situation. It’s natural to be curious about divorce statistics and research as you take a huge step in your life. Though these statistics may be dismal in some instances, remember that they’re nothing more than statistics. Curiosity about divorce does not at all indicate or suggest a future divorce.
What Causes and Leads to Divorce?
Many researchers have examined and explored the many causes of divorce. According to a large study published through the NIH, a wide range of reasons caused couples to initiate a divorce. Often, a divorce is a result of one or more of these issues that collide. Many of these common causes for divorces overlap or have a domino effect.
Below are some of the most common problems which lead to divorces:
1. Commitment Issues
Several studies have all found that lack of commitment or marriage infidelity is a primary cause of divorce amongst couples. However, commitment issues are a broad category and can mean one or more things. Lack of commitment is up to interpretation, so part of this could be subjective. Commitment issues tend to manifest into other problems. Perhaps, this is the primary cause or reason for divorce.
2. Incompatible Partners
Sometimes, it takes until after marriage for two partners to realize they’re not truly compatible. This could be for a variety of reasons, which include lacking the same interests or values, marrying too young, sexual difficulties, religious differences, or family problems. Though there is no way to know for sure, many partners feel confident in the compatibility of their partner when they get married. In time, things change, and people change, leading to incompatibility. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 43% of marriages that end in divorce are a result of incapability.
3. Substance Abuse
Substance abuse is one of the most difficult reasons for divorce. Many studies suggest that between 10 to 35% of relationships that end in divorce are a result of substance abuse problems. Alcohol and illegal drug use are hard on both partners in a relationship, often causing strain on the relationship. If you or your spouse are experiencing issues with substance abuse, help can be found through many organizations and support groups.
While not a substance, divorce can also be caused by other types of addiction such as gambling or involvement in illegal activities.
4. Financial & Debt Issues
According to a study from Insider.com, money issues were the cause of up to 36% of marriages that ended in divorce. This shocking statistic shows the importance of discussing finances and plans for marriage. Some research suggests couples of lower-income households may be more likely to experience financial problems as a cause of divorce. Some studies have suggested that only 22% of marriages that end in divorce are due to financial concerns, however, this number varies.
Cheating and infidelity are other primary reasons for some couples’ divorce. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 28% of marriages that end in divorce are due to cheating.
6. Different Plans and Visions
For a marriage to work, you and your partner need to be on the same page about where you’d like your life to go. When people marry too young, they often find they are not yet in touch with their goals and aspirations. As partners age, they become more in touch with their desires. Often, differing opinions and plans can cause a couple to part ways. This also includes instances when one partner decides they do not want to have kids.
7. Family Problems
Have you heard of nightmares and horror stories or horrible in-laws? Sometimes, trouble with the family of your partner can be a primary cause of divorce. If drama or problems occur, this can cause a major divide in the relationship. Sometimes, couples can work through these issues and can remain happily married. In other more serious situations, family problems lead to an ultimate separation.
Another reason commonly seen for divorce is lots of arguing. Couples who cannot get a hold of bickering and arguments often drift apart. While some couples choose to seek therapy or counseling, others may not be able to rectify the argument. Communication is key to a successful relationship! In turn, this may end in a divorce.
These reasons for divorce are only a few of the many reasons couples may split. Other causes may include domestic or sexual violence, verbal abuse, work or career conflicts, health issues of spouse or children, and more.
How Many Marriages End in Divorce?
Though every situation is unique, taking a look at the facts and data can help you be aware. Remember, that statistics are simply an average. They do not at all suggest what will be the case in your personal situation. There are also quite a few weird correlations, which researchers may not have an answer for. One example is that divorce rates seem to be highest in March and August of every year.
- People who get married between the ages of 20 and 25 are 60% more likely to get a divorce. Perhaps this has to do with getting married too young before each person has truly found themselves.
- In addition, the higher educational attainment a person has, the less likely their risk for divorce.
- Within the United States, Northeastern states tend to have the lowest divorce rates, while states in the South and West have the highest divorce rates. Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Nevada have the highest divorce rates in the country.
- Strong religious beliefs can often impact divorce statistics. In many religions, divorce is frowned upon which may cause a couple to stay in their relationship. This is why people with strong religious beliefs are said to be 14% less likely to get a divorce.
- Certain races or ethnic groups may also be more likely to experience divorce. Non-Hispanic white men and women are most likely to have married at least three separate times, while Asian people are the least likely.
- Russia holds the highest rate of divorce among all countries. The U.S. is #6 in ranking.
- The average age for first-time divorce is age 30.
- Having a child together before marriage significantly increases the likelihood of a future divorce.
Prepare a Prenup in case of Divorce
Getting married soon? It’s time to consider a prenup! Now that you’re aware of the harsh reality of the possibility of a divorce, now is the time to prepare in advance. Thinking about a prenuptial agreement before marriage does not suggest your marriage is going to fail. Rather, it’s a smart idea for you and your partner to get on the same page. In addition, if a divorce ever does happen, you’ll be glad you have clearly written plans already in place.
No matter how close you and your partner are, many of these common reasons for divorce are not foreseeable. Life can change in an instant. Be prepared by having a “just in case” prenup in your back pocket!
Want to learn more about how to get started writing your prenup? Hello Prenup can help! Create an account to start building your custom prenup.
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].