Getting married is an exciting milestone for a lot of couples, but not every pairing works out for the long term. Almost half of marriages result in couples getting a divorce these days, and there’s plenty of potential reasons for divorce that can contribute to the decision to end such a commitment.
Each relationship is different, so the exact reasons for a split will vary. It might be that one partner has goals that don’t work well with the other’s, or that real life events have meant couples simply grow apart. Also, divorce often occurs as a result of a collection of issues, not one just one thing in particular. Many try to work through their issues before splitting, which either fixes the problems or creates secondary ones.
If you are considering a divorce, you might be unsure about exactly what the process entails. This guide will give you some basic information to get you thinking about your next steps, plus cover some of the most common reasons marriages end.
Understanding the Divorce Process
A divorce is a big decision, and the process has a lot of moving parts. Here is a broad overview of the main things you need to do if you decide to terminate your marriage:
- Separate your assets
This is often the part of divorce that requires the most time and compromise for couples. Virginia is not a community property state, so you and your spouse must divide every physical and financial marital asset — including houses, cars, boats, savings accounts, retirement accounts, and more — regardless of how many years you’ve been together or how much money each of you made during your marriage. If you cannot reach an agreement about some or all of your assets, you could need to let a judge divide them in court.
- Create a childcare plan
Courts always prioritize the best interests of a child when custody issues become part of a divorce. In most cases, the court will push for 50/50 custody between you and your spouse unless there is some particular reason why this would not benefit that youth.
Circumstances do exist where one parent gets full custody and the other parent might not be involved or only gets visitation rights. You and your spouse need to create an agreeable childcare plan to present to the judge as part of your divorce, and may have the court help you set these standards if you’re unable to come to a decision that works for all of you.
- Calculate child support
Even with 50/50 custody, child support often plays a part when couples with children get divorced. The court uses a specific formula to calculate support, so you have little control over the amount. You could need to file for a temporary support order as you go through the divorce process, however, or may have to pay a temporary amount until final proceedings to ensure your children have everything they need.
- Negotiate spousal support
If a significant income gap exists between you and your spouse, you may need to negotiate spousal support. This might include making or receiving one or two lump sums or agreeing to monthly payments, and may require the help of a judge to decide the amounts and payment schedule.
Choosing to get married is a serious commitment, and deciding to end your marriage may feel like it is equally as big of a decision. Understanding why couples get divorced may help you decide if it is a better option for you and your family in the long term.
4 Most Common Reasons People Get Divorced
Formal studies, informal research, personal accounts, and the experience of divorce attorneys reveal dozens of common reasons for divorce. Here are four of the top reasons couples end their relationship, regardless of the number of years of marriage they have under their belts:
Some couples can work through the trauma of one or both partners stepping outside the marriage, but it is often a long road. For many, cheating on a spouse is the driving force for a divorce. Ultimately, infidelity or other forms of extramarital affairs break down the trust in a marriage, making it difficult for many couples to remain together.
Each of the partners may feel like they are constantly worried the other spouse is engaged in infidelity when not in the home, for example, which can wear down the relationship and make ending the marriage a healthy decision for all.
Issues that circle around money and household finances are plentiful in marriages and commonly lead to divorce. Sometimes a significant income gap is a source of conflict because of jealousy or ego. In other cases, couples cannot reconcile when one is a saver and the other is a spender.
Premarital financial counseling and planning can help mitigate these issues early in relationships, and may even help couples who would not have worked because of money-related issues otherwise develop a healthy marriage, but many couples simply have differing views on what to do with their funds.
Whether money should be kept in joint or separate bank accounts, it is very important to save in advance for big purchases and retirement (albeit years down the road) versus taking on debt, and more. Money troubles like these may make it difficult to pay bills, and could also create stress in a relationship that can prompt a separation for many couples.
3. Lack of Communication
Communication problems can ruin any relationship, no matter how long you’ve been connected to the other person. Some married couples never learn how to effectively communicate with one another about their needs and important issues. Other couples suffer a breakdown in communication because of frustration, arguing, apathy, and myriad other reasons.
In any case, the failure to communicate creates the space for misunderstandings and conflict which sometimes leads to divorce — particularly if it goes on for too long without effective commitments from both partners to understand how communication impacts their marital connection.
4. Lack of Intimacy
After being married for some time, some couples find a decrease in their level of intimacy. While a lack of intimacy certainly includes bedroom relations, it also pertains to a general change in the closeness between partners. Ignoring your spouse’s sexual and emotional needs can lead to a complete breakdown in a marital relationship, result in problems that could easily have been avoided by making time for each other, and inspire one or both partners to seek a divorce.
Long separations, like military deployments, can also lead to a breakdown in emotional intimacy. Regardless of the reason, some lack of intimacy issues cannot be overcome and thus end in divorce. There are plenty of other reasons couples get divorced, from a true lack of commitment to the marriage to issues with substance abuse, domestic violence, other violence, simply getting married too young, growing apart, and more.
Sometimes you just know the partnership isn’t right for you, other times there’s a final straw that is the cause of divorce no matter how many years of marriage you’ve endured together. Knowing that even healthy marriage pairings can go sour and that many marriages end may be comforting for those considering, going through, or about to start the divorce process.
Your Reason For Divorce Is All that Matters
As mentioned, there are many reasons you or your spouse might want a divorce. If your reason or reasons are not listed above, it’s still a valid reason for divorce. If you are unsure, some signs that indicate it might be time for you to move on include:
- You do not argue, which is a strong indication of apathy.
- You always argue, which indicates neither of you are willing to compromise about important issues.
- Your partner causes you stress and anxiety.
- You want to provoke your spouse into leaving.
- You do not prioritize your partner above work, kids’ events, other family, and friends.
- You are unable to forgive your partner for any wrongdoing.
- You’ve quit confiding in your spouse.
- You feel as if you’ve exhausted all possibilities such as talking, counseling, and making a joint effort to repair issues.
- Your spouse has left and abandoned you.
- You are experiencing domestic violence.
- You are perpetrating domestic violence against your partner.
- You feel your relationship may have resulted in you marrying too young, and your priorities have since changed.
If any of the above statements ring true for you, take the time to carefully evaluate your relationship and consider contacting a divorce attorney to discuss your options.
Is It Time For a Divorce?
No one walks down the aisle and marries the person they love with the expectation of divorce, but almost half of all marriages end this way. The key takeaways on common reasons for divorce include:
- Sometimes partners were simply not as ready for marriage as they thought they were.
- Other times they were not able or did not have the desire to put in the difficult work it takes to remain married.
- Some of the top reasons for divorce — like adultery or infidelity, marrying too young, substance abuse difficulties, financial issues, lack of intimacy, lack of commitment, abuse, domestic violence, poor family dynamics, and poor communication — factor into whether a marriage will succeed.
- Regardless of your reasons for divorce, you and your partner may need to move on if you’ve reached the final straw and cannot reconcile with your spouse.
- You know deep down if the end of marriage is the right move for you and your family.
- The biggest sign that might indicate it’s time for divorce is if you are constantly questioning your marital communication or commitment and whether you should get one.
Get Help From an Experienced Divorce Attorney
An experienced divorce attorney can help answer questions about the divorce process — regardless of how many years you’ve been together — and advise you on what you can expect for your individual situation.
Contact the Law Office of Michael Ephraim today to speak with an expert about any divorce-related questions you may have.