Top 10 Reasons for Divorce

Published 7th September 2015

Everyone is different and every relationship is unique. There are therefore a myriad reasons why 42% of marriages in the UK end in divorce.

Legally the only ground for a divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This must be supported by one of five facts which must be established before the divorce is granted:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion
  • Two years’ separation with consent
  • Five years’ separation

However behind the legal requirements and stipulations there are always a range of more personal and tangible issues. Research shows that the 10 most common reasons for divorce are:

1. Infidelity

Although it is commonly assumed that the vast majority of divorces are as a result of infidelity, the latest figures show that in fact extramarital affairs are cited in only 14% of all UK divorces.

2. Money

Financial problems can put a strain on a relationship and research suggests that nearly half of all divorces stem from money problems. As well as simply not having enough cash for the basics, problems can arise when one partner feels the other is not contributing enough or that one is making all the spending decisions. Money problems often lead to other issues including depression and a lack of self-worth which also impact negatively on a relationship.

3. Lack of communication

Once couples stop communicating effectively, relationships quickly break down. Not being able to talk through issues and problems means they are not settled amicably and can quickly turn into insurmountable problems that neither party is able to talk about in an effective, constructive manner.

4. Abuse

Abuse can take many forms – physical, mental and physical – none of which are conducive to a healthy relationship. Constant fighting, whether it’s physical or verbal, is draining and unhealthy for both parties. Volatile relationships rarely result in a happy marriage and usually end up in the divorce courts.

5. Incompatibility

Sadly despite the best of intentions, some people simply grow apart wanting different things from their relationships and lives. This is particularly true of couples who marry young before they have perhaps established themselves in careers or discovered new interests. Incompatibility can also result in one or other of the parties hooking up with someone they feel they share more in common with leading to infidelity.

6. Unhappiness

Many relationships just aren’t meant to be and after the excitement of dating and the big day itself some couples realise they just simple don’t make each other happy.

7. Addiction

Whether it’s to alcohol, gambling, drugs or something else, addiction can completely dominate an individual’s life and change their personality. Serious addiction can lead to unemployment and money issues and addicts often lie, cheat and steal to fund their addiction. It is therefore not surprising that addiction is a major contributor to relationship breakups.

8. Parenting differences  

Anyone with children will know that the images in the glossy magazines of perfect parents with their perfect children is a myth. Bringing up children is tough; most people’s lifestyles change overnight as do their priorities. If parents can’t agree on the basic as to how they wish to raise their children it can result in conflict and ultimately the breakdown of the relationship.

9. Physical change

Sadly many relationships fail when one of the parties no longer looks like they did on their wedding day. The physical side of a relationship is important in a marriage and if one partner is no longer attracted to the other then the resulting rejection and resentment can soon erode the relationship.

10. Religious and cultural differences

It’s easy in the early days to believe that love can overcome any differences. However once the routine of married life is established these differences can become significant particularly when it comes down to agreeing on how to raise children. Sometimes religious and cultural differences can just be too ingrained to overcome.

The information and opinions provided here are for information purposes only. They are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice, and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular or individual circumstances. 

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