NEW YORK — Even with the best online divorce services, separating from a spouse can be a complicated process. That’s why the researchers of a new poll say it’s important to understand the signs and common causes of divorce.
Understanding why marriages fail can help you to make your own union stronger if you are married. It can guide you in making choices about entering into a marriage, and help you support the married couples in your life.
Forbes Advisor surveyed 1,000 Americans who are divorced or in the process of divorcing to discover why marriages fail. Based on this data, the team unraveled some of the most likely reasons why even the longest marriages eventually come to an end.
The state of divorce in 2023
A total of 689,308 divorces occurred in 2021. Approximately half of all first marriages end in divorce, with subsequent marriages failing at even higher rates. When a couple divorces, they must state grounds for divorce in court. This is the reason for ending the marriage and dictates the type of divorce being filed.
Most people choose a no-fault divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. With that in mind, irreconcilable differences are indeed a common divorce cause, with 31 percent of couples who ended their marriages reporting that incompatibility was the reason.
However, while simply not getting along is a common reason for divorce, infidelity remains a bigger issue. In total, 34 percent of marriages among survey respondents ended due to an affair. Adultery is one of the grounds for a fault divorce in court. However, even when an extramarital affair occurs, sometimes the couple pursues a no-fault divorce instead because it’s simpler.
Other common causes of divorce include:
While these issues cause marriages to end, couples who divorce don’t always recognize these problems as signs a marriage is in trouble. In fact, 21 percent of survey respondents said disapproval of a spouse by family or friends was a sign a marriage was at risk, despite the fact that lack of family support was a leading factor in 43 percent of divorces.
It’s all about feeling supported
This lack of support from family members is the most common reason for divorce. However, there were many other reasons for unions to end, with causes varying based on how long the couple was together.
Those who divorced quickly were more likely to end their marriages because they discovered they couldn’t get along. Fifty-nine percent of people who dissolved their unions within the first year of marriage cited a lack of compatibility.
Key Takeaways And Percentages From Divorce Study
- A total of 689,308 divorces occurred in 2021.
- Approximately 50% of all first marriages end in divorce; subsequent marriages have higher failure rates.
Grounds for Divorce
- Couples must state grounds for divorce in court.
- Most people opt for a no-fault divorce, often citing irreconcilable differences.
Common Causes for Divorce
- 31% of couples cited irreconcilable differences.
- 34% of divorces were due to infidelity.
- Other common reasons: lack of family support, lack of intimacy, too much conflict, and financial stress.
- 43% of divorces had lack of family support as a leading factor, but only 21% recognized it as a sign of a risky marriage.
Reasons for Getting Married
- 42% of divorced respondents married for financial security.
- 44% of women married for financial reasons.
- 39% of women and men married for love and companionship, respectively.
- Other reasons: commitment, convenience, medical insurance, legal reasons, societal and family pressures.
Gender Pay Gap
- In 2022, women were paid 22.2% less than men on average.
Duration and Cause of Divorce
- 59% who divorced within the first year cited lack of compatibility.
- Lack of family support was the leading cause for divorces between years two through eight.
- Long-term couples usually divorced due to infidelity and lack of intimacy.
Correlation Between Marriage and Divorce Reasons
- Those who married for companionship, financial security, etc., blamed lack of compatibility for divorce.
- Couples pressured by society or family were more likely to divorce due to extramarital affairs.
- Those who married as a commitment were more likely to divorce due to lack of intimacy.
Signs of a Marriage at Risk
- Lack of interest in each other, poor conflict resolution, and avoiding each other were top signs.
- Financial stress, marrying too soon, and marrying too young were least likely to be considered signs.
Types of Conflict in Divorced Couples
- 46% listed career choices as the most common type of conflict.
- Parenting differences, division of household labor, and relationships with family were also common causes of conflict, each cited by more than 40% of respondents.
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