After 15 years of practicing divorce and family law, I sometimes think I have heard it all, but people continue to surprise me. Although every case is different, we hear a lot of common themes over and over. The most common reasons I see, ranked in order, for people getting divorced are as follows:
1. Lack of Communication or Common Interests. This may not be the tabloid fodder you would imagine, but the number one reason I see for people getting divorced is a simple lack of communication or common interests. I hear clients over and over say things like “we are like roommates;” “we never talk;” and “we have nothing in common.” This may be the case from the beginning and becomes more pronounced as the excitement of a new relationship wears off. Others may simply grow apart over time. We also see many cases where people neglect their marital relationship and devote all of their focus to co-parenting their children, only to realize there isn’t much of a marriage left once your children grow up and leave the nest.
2. Money. This is a big one! “Financial infidelity,” which I would describe as lying or secrecy about money and spending is one of the top causes of divorce. If one spouse is a saver and one is a spender, that is hard to reconcile. If you get married, only to learn that your spouse has tens of thousands of dollars in debt that they never told you about, that is a pretty big betrayal. Betrayal about money often bleeds over into other areas as well. Marriage is a partnership, and honesty and full disclosure about your finances is key.
3. All other “fault” reasons, to include adultery, substance abuse or other addiction, and domestic violence.
Those of us who have not had personal experience with divorce tend to believe that the vast majority of divorces fall into the “fault” category, where one spouse has done something terrible and the other spouse has no choice but to get divorced, but this simply is not the case. Most people getting divorced are normal people just like you, believe it or not! Even if your situation falls into one of these extreme scenarios, you can come out the other side a happier, and stronger person. I always tell my clients, some people say life is too short, but I say life is too long to live in a miserable marriage. You have options, and you have the power to make changes in your life.