Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

After decades of being a divorce attorney, I’ve learned a few things about the reasons for divorce and why people end marriages.

First, at least half of divorcing couples knew at the outset about the issues that ended up being problematic for their marriage. Things like problematic communication, different approaches to money or misalignment in the bedroom. This is often cited in divorce paperwork as “irreconcilable differences.”

When I speak to young adults, I caution them to have open-eyes when entering a relationship. Because the person you meet is the person they will continue to be. If something seems off between you, or you are annoyed by parts of their personality or habits, this will likely not change as the relationship continues.

One common reason for divorce is a lack of family support—whether it’s once the kids come and there aren’t extended family members to help with the 24/7 job of parenting, or it’s that one or both families opposed the relationship from the beginning. You can say love will conquer all, but love without extended family, friends or community can be lonely, indeed.

Photo by DiamondRehab Thailand on Unsplash

There are, of course, reasons for divorce that are impossible to foresee—Things like infidelity, drug addiction or alcoholism, or fraud.

Infidelity and extramarital affairs are another common reason a marriage ends; and a third reason, and probably what my clients talk to me about the most, is lack of compatibility and too much conflict or arguing. Finessing communication skills early on in a relationship can help prevent dissolution down the line.

Other reasons crop up, too, like marrying too young, before you have a true sense of yourself, or different parenting styles, which you might not know at the beginning of a relationship, before you bring children into the mix. The reasons for divorce are varied and vast, and often have a lot to do with the reasons for marrying.

So many times, we don’t see a potential partner clearly because, frankly, we don’t want to. And a lot of that has to do with the reasons people marry.

Financial security ranks highest as the reason that many women choose to marry, even in the 21st century. Women are still paid on average 22% less than men, and having an income-earning partner remains a motivating factor for marriage.

The next reason inspiring people to marry is companionship. Love only ranks third, followed by a desire to start a family.

When people marry because they want to fill a void in their life or emotional well-being, it may not matter who the partner is—until it does. Those who marry for companionship are more likely to divorce if they don’t get along.

Photo by Callie Morgan on Unsplash

But it’s important for people to realize that marriage takes work—any relationship does! You have to commit to working at it every day, to seeing the good in the other person and not focusing inordinately on the things that drive you crazy.

Except for instances of abuse, violence, addiction or adultery, most of the reasons people cite for divorcing could be worked on—if they want to.

The biggest risk factor warning that a marriage is in trouble is a lack of interest in one’s partner. This goes hand-in-hand with avoiding your spouse, lack of respect and criticizing each other. All of these actions signal that something isn’t right, and it’s better to address them and do your own work about how you’re feeling than continue with bad behavior unchecked.

That said, we at Transitions Legal never judge a person for deciding to divorce or for the reasons for divorce. Sometimes, a relationship has just run its course, and there is no harm in declaring it done. Divorce is a personal decision that only you can make – no outside influence or judgmental voice in your head should impact whether you stay in a relationship or leave.