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Every divorcing couple has their own set of reasons for seeking a divorce. But while the unique mixture of reasons cited may vary from case to case, there are some universal threads that cause marital unhappiness. The list below cites some of the more common ones.

What are the reasons for divorce?

Here are some of the contributing factors, cited in one survey by 886 divorcing parents as the reasons for their divorce:

  1. Growing apart: 55%
  2. Unable to talk together: 52.7%
  3. How the spouse handles money: 40.3%
  4. Spouse’s personal problems: 36.8%
  5. Not enough attention: 34.1%
  6. Infidelity: 34%
  7. Spouse’s personal habits: 28.6%
  8. Sexual problems: 24.4%
  9. Taste or preference differences: 23.3%
  10. Alcohol or drug problems: 22.1%
  11. Household responsibilities: 21.3%
  12. Conflicts over raising children: 19.9%
  13. Spouse’s leisure activities: 18.3%
  14. In-law problems: 17.8%
  15. Child care responsibilities: 16.5%
  16. Physical violence: 12.7%
  17. Spouse worked too many hours: 9.1%
  18. Religious differences: 8.6% (Jayson, 2011)

How Legitimate Are These Reasons For Divorce

What concerns us when we look at this list is how indefinable and potentially fixable many of these problems are, especially given the profoundly harmful effects that divorce will have on children. Another area of concern is that a number of the reasons for divorce cited by these parents are likely to be exasperated – not fixed – by a divorce. Conflicts over raising children, child care responsibilities, in-law problems, religious differences; all of these problems will only grow more difficult to handle after divorce. If you think conflicts in parenting are an issue now, they’ll grow exponentially after the two of you separate. In-laws a pain? You’ll still have to deal with them after separation (they’re still your children’s family), and imagine how they’ll act then.

Other issues may be “fixed” only to be replaced by problems that are new. For example, problems in the way a spouse handles money may be fixed once you have your own bank account, but these issues may seem small in comparison to the lowered standard of living and lesser financial resources each of you will face when living apart. Household responsibilities may be a source of conflict now, but each of you will be solely responsible for all housework after the divorce, so you may find yourself dealing with even bigger challenges in this area.

The next several pages will explore these issues in further detail, offering information that will help parents decide whether divorce is the solution they are looking for.

Splitting up might seem like a relief from fighting, but it brings a whole new kind of heartache and difficulty into your life … trust me, I know.”

– Meagan Francis (2012), who divorced her husband before getting back together a year later

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