Digging into the Data: The Top 10 Reasons for Divorce

July 12, 2023by Adam Sacks

This is a list of frequently cited most common reasons for divorce filings, accompanied by corresponding statistics.

1. Seventy-five percent of individuals and couples cited lack of commitment as the reason for their divorce.

2. Constant arguing among married couples is a major cause of divorce, with approximately 57.7% of couples separating as a result.

3. One of the main contributing factors to 65% of divorce petitions is poor communication.

4. Fifty-four percent of people believe having a partner with financial trouble is a reason to consider divorce.

5. According to statistics, 48% of couples who marry before the age of 18 are more likely to experience divorce within 10 years.

6. Infidelity or extramarital affairs in the United States accounted for 59.6 percent of divorces.

7. Approximately 23.5% of divorces list domestic abuse as a contributing factor.

8. Health problems and mental illness of a spouse are factors that contribute to approximately 20% of divorces in the United States.

9. One of the contributing factors to the risk of divorce is a lack of support from family, accounting for 17.3%.

10. Religious differences contribute to 13.3% of the reasons for divorce.

common reasons for divorce filings

1. Based on a study, the majority of individuals and couples cited lack of commitment as the primary reason for divorce.

A successful and fulfilling marriage requires dedication from both partners. Unfortunately, if one spouse lacks commitment to the relationship, it can potentially result in the dissolution of the marriage. When one partner is not fully committed to the other, it can harm the marriage in the long run.

Over 75% of individuals and couples who file for divorce cite a lack of commitment as the reason for their split. The divorce rate is a topic that no one enjoys discussing, but it’s an unfortunate reality in our culture. [1]

This was found to be the most frequent reason for the dissolution of marriages, surpassing even cases of infidelity.

2. Constant arguing among married couples is a significant contributing factor to divorce, with an estimated 57.7% of couples ending their marriages as a result.

According to divorce statistics, couples who argue frequently are more likely to end their marriages than couples who do not. Studies show that constant arguing can lead to emotional distress and a decline in mental and physical health for both partners. This can negatively affect their overall quality of life.

The frequency of arguments among married couples is a contributing factor to divorce, with approximately 57.7% of couples citing it as a reason for separation. [2]

Arguments can escalate quickly and become emotionally intense, leading to feelings of anger and resentment. If left unresolved, this can create a hostile environment and erode the couple’s emotional bond. Over time, the constant stress of arguing can lead to physical health problems, including high blood pressure and heart issues.

3. One of the main contributing factors to 65% of divorces is poor communication.

Lack of communication is a major predictor of divorce in relationships. As noted in the previous paragraph, arguing about money is just one example of how poor communication can damage a relationship. Couples who do not communicate well have a harder time expressing their needs and resolving conflicts, which can lead to resentment, anger, and, ultimately, divorce.

With this said, it comes as little surprise that lack of communication in marriage leads to divorce or separation in many instances. A survey conducted by Your Tango found the following lack of communication divorce statistics:

Communication problems are the most common factor that leads to divorce, at 65%. [3]

This was followed by couples ‘inability to resolve issues at 43%.

Causes of communication breakdown in marriage involved:

  • ‘Blame nagging/complaining’ was a complaint of 70% of men;
  • Lack of sufficient appreciation from their spouse at 65%.

Lack of validation for feelings and opinions was number one with women at 83%, followed by 56% who said their spouse talks about himself too much.

Even seemingly strong relationships can suffer from communication issues. For example, couples who keep secrets from each other can cause irreparable damage to the relationship. Secrets often arise as a result of fear of judgment or fear of negative consequences. Reasons for these omissions can range from financial issues to infidelity.

However, secrets create a lack of trust and intimacy and prevent couples from addressing problems healthily.

65% of divorces is poor communication

4. According to a survey, 54% of individuals view a partner's financial difficulties as a potential factor to contemplate divorce.

Finances can be a significant source of stress in any relationship, and unfortunately, it is also one of the primary causes of divorce. One of the most common financial issues that can lead to divorce is the inequities in contributing to marital income, debts, or net worth. Having all the financial information on the table is crucial for a fair and reasonable financial settlement. Hiding assets or financial details can be a red flag for financial fraud in divorce.

For many people, financial trouble is a major source of stress in their lives. As debt accumulates, it can cause stress within relationships and lead to a breakdown in communication and trust, in addition to reduced financial stability. According to a recent survey by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), 54% of Americans believe that having a partner with significant debt is one of the top reasons for considering divorce. [4]

This statistic is further supported by the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau report, which states that household debt has increased significantly over the last two decades, making debt a major factor in failed marriages.

Financial infidelity is when a partner deliberately chooses not to tell the truth regarding money. A survey from U.S. News & World Report reveals that the biggest money-related lies that pop up in relationships are secretive purchases (31.4%), hiding debts (28.7%), and dishonesty about income (22.6%).

5. Based on statistical data, couples who marry before the age of 18 have a higher likelihood of experiencing divorce within 10 years, with a rate of 48%.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, one of the leading causes of divorce is couples marrying too young. Couples who marry before the age of 18 have a significantly higher chance of divorcing within 10 years than those who wait until they are older. This statistic is supported by research which has found that 48% of couples who marry before the age of 18 are likely to experience divorce within 10 years. [1]

The reasons for this result are varied but can include a lack of maturity and financial instability. 

couples who marry before the age of 18 have a higher likelihood of experiencing divorce within 10 years

6. Infidelity or extramarital affairs in the United States accounted for 59.6 percent of divorces.

Being cheated on by a partner who promised to be faithful is considered a serious betrayal by many. Infidelity can have a significant impact on how one perceives their relationship, although it may not always result in divorce.

Infidelity is one of the most common reasons for divorce in the United States, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). Research indicates that infidelity accounts for 59.6 percent of all divorces in the country. This suggests that while there are a variety of factors that can contribute to the dissolution of a marriage relationship, infidelity is often at least partially responsible. [1]

Some couples can recover from infidelity, but the majority of relationships dissolve due to a loss of trust, respect, and communication.

Cheating can be a traumatic problem to overcome in a marriage and leaves couples with the difficult decision of whether to try to reconcile or walk away. Ultimately, infidelity causes a loss of trust that often leads to the dissolution of a marriage.

7. Around 23.5% of divorces cite domestic abuse as a factor.

Domestic violence is a serious problem in the United States. According to statistics, approximately 23.5% of divorces list domestic abuse as a contributing factor. [2] This type of violence can take many forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, and emotional abuse. It can also involve financial control or intimidation.

Unfortunately, this form of abuse often goes unreported or unrecognized due to the fear of retribution or a lack of resources. Physical abuse victims often feel trapped, ashamed, and helpless and may be afraid to reach out for help. In this type of relationship, one individual attains or sustains power over their partner through a recurring pattern of abusive behavior.

The effects of physical abuse can include physical injuries, psychological trauma, depression, anxiety, stress, fear, low self-esteem, and even death in extreme cases.

Around 23.5% of divorces cite domestic abuse as a factor.

8. Around 20% of divorces in the United States are influenced by health problems and mental illness in one spouse.

In the United States, approximately 20% of divorces are due to health problems and mental illness in one or both spouses. This can include physical illness, addiction, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other conditions. [3]

When a spouse has an untreated health condition or mental illness, it can burden their marriage.

9. One of the contributing factors of divorce is a lack of support from family, accounting for 17.3%.

When it comes to divorce, there are many factors that can contribute to the breakdown of a marriage. One of the top reasons for divorce is a lack of family support. According to recent studies, 17.3% of divorces can be attributed to a lack of support from family and friends. [2]

This statistic is particularly concerning as family and friends are often an integral part of any relationship, providing emotional and financial support.

factors of divorce is a lack of support

10. Religious differences contribute to 13.3% of the reasons for divorce.

Religion is an important part of many people’s lives, and when two people come from different religious backgrounds, it can lead to a rift between them.

It’s interesting that 13.3% of divorces in America involve couples with religious differences. This statistic shows religion can be a divisive force in relationships, and without compromise or understanding, these differences can lead to the dissolution of a marriage. [2]

Sources:

[1] Causes Of Divorce: 13 Of The Most Common Reasons. (n.d.). Causes of Divorce: 13 of the Most Common Reasons. https://divorce.com/blog/causes-of-divorce/

[2] Scott, S. B., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., Allen, E. S., & Markman, H. J. (n.d.). Reasons for Divorce and Recollections of Premarital Intervention: Implications for Improving Relationship Education. PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4012696/

[3] Want Your Marriage To Last? (2013, November 18). YourTango. https://www.yourtango.com/experts/rochelle-bilow/want-your-marriage-last

[4]  Suknanan, J. (2022, February 19). 54% of people believe a partner with debt is a reason to consider divorce — here are other ways debt may affect your marriage. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/select/national-debt-relief-survey-debt-reason-for-divorce/

by Adam Sacks

Adam Sacks is lead Family Law Attorney at Law Offices of Sacks & Sacks, P.A. in Jacksonville, Florida. He has a BA in Psychology from 1994, and received his Juris Doctor Degree in 1999 from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.

Sacks and Sacks Law
1646 Emerson St. Suite B Jacksonville, FL 32207

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