What Causes Divorce? | 10 Common Reasons for Divorce

According to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 630,505 U.S. couples got a divorce or annulment in 2020 (excluding data from 5 states). Research also shows that divorce rates are on the rise for older couples with gray divorce rates nearly doubling since the 1990s. But what most commonly leads a couple to get divorced?

What Are the Common Reasons for Divorce?

In no particular order, here are the 10 common reasons that couples decide to get to divorce.

  1. Finances. Money can be a big issue in any relationship. If a couple has money problems, debts, or differences in opinion concerning their financial goals and money matters, they may often butt heads. This constant bickering can lead to a breakdown in the marriage. Living paycheck to paycheck or in poverty can be an additional stressor for couples that can cause tension, resentment, and harmful arguments. Couples with a disparity in their incomes, especially in cases where the woman is the breadwinner, can also have relationship-threatening financial challenges. The list of problems that can be born out of finances is extensive—whatever the money-related issue may be, it can have a negative impact on a marriage.
  2. Health problems or tragedies. After suffering the loss of a child or having either spouse be diagnosed with a major illness, couples’ relationships are seriously tested, and they may not believe that staying together is possible or best after such extraordinary, painful events.
  3. Incompatibility. Sometimes, couples are simply incompatible, and they have different viewpoints concerning religious beliefs, core values, core motivations, where to live, etc. These differences can cause disagreements, especially if a couple is raising a child.
  4. Infidelity. Whether it is a physical or emotional affair, many couples cannot move past an extramarital affair or betrayal because of the destruction of trust and emotional safety within the relationship.
  5. Irreconcilable differences. If a couple has multiple issues or too many differences, they may decide that they can’t work it out and that divorce is the best option.
  6. Lack of equality. If one party feels like they take on more responsibility in the marriage, they may resent the other party. The other party may feel like they are contributing significantly, which can cause them to feel underappreciated and resentful as well.
  7. Lack of intimacy. Couples may no longer feel connected because of a lack of physical or emotional intimacy. If someone’s emotional or sexual needs are not being met, the relationship will seem unfulfilling, which can lead to divorce.
  8. Lack of preparation. If a couple gets married too soon or has unrealistic expectations, they may be unprepared for married life in general or with their partner.
  9. Physical and emotional abuse. If either party suffers physical, mental, verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse, they may take action to leave the situation and the marriage by filing for divorce and obtaining protective orders.
  10. Substance abuse. If either party is suffering from addiction (to drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.), it can cause a lot of tension. The partner suffering from the addiction typically prioritizes their needs regardless of the consequences to the marriage. Because of the addiction, couples may have issues with trust, money, and forgiveness, and these issues can be hard to overcome.

Does the Reason for Divorce Matter in California?

While you may have specific reasons for getting divorced, California is a no-fault state.

In California, a couple can file for divorce based on the following no-fault grounds:

  • Irreconcilable differences
  • Permanent legal incapacity to make decisions

However, the reason you are getting divorced can have an impact on your overall case. Here are a few examples of how the cause of your divorce has bearing on your divorce case.

  • If your spouse has an addiction, you may be concerned that they used marital funds to pay for their addiction, which would be considered wasteful dissipation. Substance abuse issues can also have a bearing on child custody or visitation decisions.
  • If a partner is abusive, that can also impact custody determinations and alimony; specifically, those convicted of domestic violence felony offenses cannot receive alimony from the victim/survivor.
  • If finances were a concern in your marriage, that can also have bearing on alimony (if one party made more or supported the other), child support, or the division of property (as a factor in determinations but also as a potential warning that the other party may hide assets).
  • If you and your partner have communication issues, that can mean your attorney might suggest mediation in cases where you want to avoid litigation. If the case does come to court, communication issues may signal that the process will not be amicable.

If you have filed for divorce or been served with divorce papers, contact The Neshanian Law Firm, Inc today. No matter the reason for your divorce, we are here to help you. Our attorneys have decades of experience and provide clients with high-quality, compassionate legal counsel. We offer free initial consultations—schedule yours today by calling (949) 577-7935 or complete this online form.