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Top 6 Reasons for Divorce

Most of the divorce related discussion surrounding divorce focuses on effects of divorce. This article, by contrast, looks at the underlying causes of divorce. The root causes of a divorce are a key indicator of whether the divorce will be amicable and cost effective, or high conflict and costly.

However, realize that while many of the following may be actual reasons for divorce, they are not necessarily legal causes for divorce. Many states, like Florida, are “no-fault” divorce states. That means that the Courts are not concerned with caused the divorce, but rather, just that one of the parties wants out.

In no-fault divorce states, one of the spouses needs to just allege “irreconcilable differences” to get a divorce.

With that said, some of the reasons for divorce outlined below might still be important in your divorce cases when determining specific issues as part of the divorce. For example, the parties’ spending habits might be important for determining the appropriate amount of alimony to be awarded to a needy spouse.

Below are the top 6 reasons for divorce:

1. Failure to be Financially Transparent

Surprisingly, the failure of one or both of the parties to be transparent financially with the other party is a common reason for divorce.

When a party, particularly a breadwinner spouse, conceals financial numbers from the other spouse, trust begins to breakdown. And when trust breaks down, arguments and disagreements increase, often leading to divorce.

2. Dual Heavy Spenders

A study by BYU and William Paterson University found that spouses who were both heavy spenders were worse off on nearly every relationship measure they looked at.

To an outsider, this makes perfect senses. If a couple can’t pay their bills, they will feel stress that can damage their relationship.

A misconception is that different spending habits is the cause for divorce. For example, one spouse may be reckless with spending while the other wants to save money at every turn.

Much more often, the reality is that one of the parties thinks he or she is a saver while the other is spending every penny earned. But in a divorce, the financial statements come out every time. And the financial statements often show the reality to be that both parties are heavy spenders, and both responsible for the corresponding financial stress.

3. Stress of Debt or Unemployment

Unemployment can be a huge burden on a marriage. It can be extremely stressful for a couple trying to pay the bills or wanting to maintain a certain lifestyle.

According to Gallup, the longer the average American was unemployed, the more likely they were to report signs of poor psychological health. The financial and emotional stresses of debt and unemployment correlate with unhappiness in a marriage.

4. Alcohol or Substance Abuse

When one spouse abuses drugs or alcohol, the entire marriage suffers. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, when one spouse abused substances, couples reported fighting frequently and admitted arguments sometimes escalated to violence.

A spouse who is abusing drugs and alcohol will likely be unable to handle his or her share of family responsibilities, like caring for children or handling household chores. The ability to earn income often diminishes, while the financial costs to the household to support the spouse rises.

It is common the affected spouse to try to “stand by” there spouse for a period of time when addiction and abuse rocks the marriage. But over time, the need for the affected spouse to protect his or her children and own sense of well-being drive them into my office and into divorce.

5. Domestic Violence

Intimate partner violence occurs in over 5 million American homes each year. While all too many spouses stay in violent marriages, some abuses man and woman are able to break free from the violent cycle and file for divorce. All States have some form of domestic violence injunction or restraining order to help a victim break free from an abusive spouse. These injunctions are considered a type of emergency, and take precedence over all other types of matters. Therefore, while it might take months (or even years) to get through a contested divorce, a victim of violence can go to the local clerk of Court and request a restraining Order immediately.

Even in no-fault divorce States, domestic violence is an important factor for the courts to consider when determining child custody.

We always encourage our clients to seek counseling and treatment when leaving abusive relationship. The psychological damage is real.

(If you or someone you know is in a violent relationship, you can contact the National Coalition against Domestic Violence.)

6. Irreconcilable Differences

One of the most commonly cited reasons for divorce is ‘irreconcilable differences’. This is a catchall phrase used in no-fault divorces, meaning the couple has reached a mutually agreed-upon separation, and no party is to blame for the divorce.

In a no-fault divorce, the couple doesn’t have to state a reason for divorce. No-fault divorces allow a couple to end a marriage amiably, reducing litigation and conflict throughout the divorce process.

Christian Denmon is one of the founding partners at Denmon & Denmon Trial Lawyers. With an AVVO Clients’ Choice award for family law and articles published in various law publications, including the Law Street Journal and Huffington Post, Christian aims to educate and inform future and present divorcees. To learn more, visit Denmon & Denmon Trial Lawyers or connect with Christian on Google Plus.

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