Divorce is rarely ever an easy decision, but sometimes it’s very necessary. From general happiness to personal safety, the reasons for divorce vary. Some may seem obvious while other reasons are perfectly legal but often overlooked as not being serious enough to warrant divorce.
In some states, couples are required to state in court the reasons for wanting a divorce, while in other states, couples need only to be separated for a specific time before they can file for divorce.
As unfortunate as it can be, divorce is common and can become a positive thing for those involved, allowing them newfound freedom and chance at happiness.
Divorce in Delaware
Details of divorce laws vary slightly from state to state. In Delaware, no-fault divorce is common. In this type of divorce, neither person has to prove the other was responsible for the divorce. One of the spouses needs to have been living in Delaware for a minimum of six months before filing for divorce, and both spouses must have been separated for at least six months before filing for divorce.
The pair can file for divorce by simply showing that they have been voluntarily separated for at least six months and that there is no chance of reconciliation. This is a popular method since it prevents the chance of “dirty laundry” being aired in court. However, if either spouse claims the separation wasn’t voluntary, then the divorce cannot be granted on those grounds.
However, if the reason for divorce is misconduct — such as abuse or infidelity — then the six-month separation may not be necessary.
Common Reasons for Divorce
There are many reasons people file for divorce, which range from general unhappiness to fear for their safety or the safety of their family. Some of the most common reasons for divorce tend to do with inadequate pre-marital planning and a lack of comradery during the marriage. Sometimes the reason is the fault of one spouse, such as adultery or abuse, while many other times, it’s simply a matter of incompatibility in some aspect of the marriage.
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Here are 20 of the more common reasons people file for divorce:
1. Adultery or Infidelity
Contrary to popular belief, adultery and infidelity aren’t always interchangeable. While adultery involves sex, infidelity can be physical or emotional. The American Psychological Association found that infidelity is the reason for divorce in 20% to 40% of cases in the U.S., making it one of the most common legal reasons for divorce.
Any sort of infidelity negatively affects the partner being cheated on, of course, but it’s also known to have detrimental psychological effects on the perpetrator. Some couples find that marriage counseling helps, but infidelity usually causes separation or divorce. Those who do choose to stay married after infidelity tend to so because of co-dependency of some sort, such as finances, or because there are young children to consider. Intense and thorough couple’s counseling can also help clear up the issues related to the infidelity, allowing a couple to reconcile.
Domestic violence is, unfortunately, far too common, accounting for approximately 21% of all violent crime in the U.S., so it’s not surprising that it’s one of the common legal reasons for divorce. Women are disproportionately the victims of domestic abuse, accounting for about 76% of all cases, while men are victims in approximately 24% of cases.
Abuse can range from verbal attacks and insults to physical violence, and all forms of spousal abuse can be deadly. Those who escape violent situations can file for divorce without the six-month separation requirement. Some forms of abuse include:
- Physical: This includes beating, punching, kicking and more severe assaults, including burning.
- Emotional: Name-calling, insulting or constantly putting down a spouse is technically emotional abuse.
- Psychological: Intimidation and isolation are two common forms of psychological abuse.
- Sexual: Forced sexual acts of any sort are a form of sexual abuse.
- Financial: Removing a spouse’s financial independence — or the chance of financial independence — is abuse. This includes forcing them to work, restricting them from being employed or limiting access to family funds.
Money matters are another common cause for divorce, ranging from debt to bad investments to opposing long-term goals. It’s important to have similar financial priorities and to be open and upfront when it comes to shared finances. However, that’s often easier said than done for many people, which results in secrecy and deception.
About 70% of people in a study said finances were a key reason for divorce, and arguing about money matters was a common denominator for these couples. On top of that, two in five Americans admit that they’ve deceived their partners about their finances in some way or another, which is a type of financial infidelity. Of those, 75% admitted that their deceptions about finances affected their relationship in some way.
The sad truth is that incarceration is likely to increase the likelihood of divorce. In fact, the longer one spouse spends in prison, the more the chances of divorce increase. And even if the marriage lasts through the prison sentence, it’s still at risk afterward.
5. Constant Arguing
It’s one thing to consistently argue about money matters, but consistently arguing about every little thing can be both frustrating and detrimental to a marriage. A study found that 61% of divorced couples cited constant bickering as the reason for their divorce.
Couples who find it hard to see each other’s point of view or have the same arguments over and over again often do so because one or both feel they aren’t being heard, which may stem from a different cause for divorce: lack of communication. The inability to find a way out of the regular arguments often leads to divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.
6. Lack of or Inadequate Communication
One potential reason for consistent arguments can be a lack of adequate communication. Poor communication is one of the more common reasons for divorce, with nagging and complaining being the main reasons men were dissatisfied and lack of validation being the main reason for women. Lack of communication can also take the form of one partner believing the other doesn’t communicate enough or not liking the way the other partner communicates.
The effects of poor communication can range from a lack of support for each other to the relationship feeling like one with a stranger rather than a devoted spouse. The estrangement can, in turn, result in other issues, such as lack of intimacy.
7. Lack of Intimacy
Though the reasons for a decline in sex drive can vary, the lack of physical intimacy is often cited as a factor in a divorce. Psychologists estimated 15% to 20% of couples in America have sex less than 10 times a year, which they define as a sexless marriage.
But intimacy isn’t limited to just sex. Little acts and words of kindness can be just as or more intimate than sex, and a spouse receiving a cold shoulder can feel unattractive, ignored or embarrassed.
A continuation of this type of behavior is more likely to lead to divorce.
8. Health Problems
An unfortunate reality is the likelihood of divorce is higher if one spouse falls seriously or terminally ill. There is an even higher chance of divorce in heterosexual couples when it’s the wife who falls ill.
It’s no secret that caring for an ill spouse is hard work, which can take its toll on mental and physical health, but it’s not totally clear whether the illness prompts the divorce or simply becomes an excuse to finally admit to it.
Whether it’s a difference in religious beliefs or feeling restricted in marriage due to the couple’s religion, a common reason for divorce ends up being religious differences. If it hasn’t been discussed ahead of time, practicing religion can become a topic of contention for couples, especially if children are involved. With children, the question of which religion to raise them with — if any — comes up and can lead to conflict.
10. A Difference in Parenting Style
In the same vein as a difference of religion, having opposing ideas of how to raise children can lead to divorce. Partners who disagree on whether their kids are better off playing outside with friends or inside on a game console will butt heads in the long term, leading to increased conflicts and irreconcilable differences.
Addictions of any sort are likely to cause problems in a marriage, especially if it’s not acknowledged and help isn’t sought. It can also bleed into other issues, such as communication, financial problems and secrecy, all of which only exacerbate the situation and pile up the reasons for divorce.
12. Loss of Identity
While togetherness is great in a marriage, too much of it can end up harming it. One of the side effects of too much togetherness is a loss of individual identity. Taking time away from each other to indulge in individual hobbies or to spend time with friends not shared with the spouse is necessary, but it can be difficult to do, especially when children are involved.
13. Family Interference
Overbearing in-laws or immediate family can be a trigger for conflict in a marriage. Interference from family — well-intentioned or not — in decisions pertaining to the nuclear family can create problems and increase resentment. Unsolicited advice or commentary on the way a couple lives their life can become increasingly frustrating and a legitimate cause for divorce.
On the other hand, a total lack of family connection can also be detrimental to a marriage. A study found the chances of divorce decreased by 20% when a husband had a good relationship with his in-laws. However, the risk of divorce increased when a wife had a close relationship with her in-laws.
14. Jealousy and Insecurity
Jealousy is a normal and expected human emotion, but how a person deals with it can make the difference between a happy, long-lasting marriage and one that ends in divorce.
Keeping jealousy in check — often via counseling, both couple’s and individual, to discuss the source of the insecurity — can help, but unchecked jealousy can lead to conflicts and a breakdown in communication. Jealousy and insecurity in one a spouse are unlikely to fade away over time — in fact, it’s likely to get worse.
15. Unrealistic Expectations
Everyone has an idea of what they want their marriage to be like, but expecting the reality to be exactly like the fantasy can pave a path to divorce. Whether it’s ignoring small problems before the marriage — hoping they’ll resolve themselves after marriage — or one spouse not communicating their expectations of their partner, unrealistic expectations can lead to one or both partners feeling like they’ve failed as a spouse or breed resentment between the couple.
16. Control Struggles
Controlling behavior can be a form of spousal abuse if it goes too far, but a general need to have control over situations can also lead to frustrations and unhappiness. Whether it’s a need to intrude in conversations, the need to control household finances or the need to control children, the imbalance created by a controlling partner leads to the other spouse feeling inadequate or unneeded.
The other spouse may also feel suffocated if all their decisions are constantly made for them.
17. Unprepared for Marriage
Sometimes, people jump into marriage without realizing that it’s more work than people make it seem to be. From neglecting to discuss things like whether both parties want children, how finances will be organized and how relationships with friends and family may change after marriage, some people find that they underestimated the work it takes to make a successful marriage.
Other times, one or both spouses simply aren’t ready for marriage. Some rush into it when they’re still too young because that’s what their parents and grandparents did, ignoring the fact that the median age for marriage has changed from the early 20s to mid to late 20s.
18. Long-Distance Relationships
While absence may make the heart grow fonder, too much of it can lead to feeling emotionally distant and lacking communication. The inability to have physical intimacy can translate into a lack of emotional intimacy as well, which can lead to misunderstandings, suspicion and frustration for one or both parties.
When one spouse leaves without any discussion of return or how the remaining spouse will support themselves and any children, it can be grounds for divorce. Desertion or abandonment qualifies as misconduct, which means that there doesn’t need to be a six-month separation before a divorce can be filled.
20. Lack of Commitment
Sometimes no matter how excited a person is to marry the love of their life, they eventually find that they’re not that committed to the relationship at all. This means they aren’t concerned about the well-being of their partner or making the relationship work. A lack of commitment can be the result of one person falling out of love with their spouse or because the marriage was for something other than love and dedication for each other.
Get Professional Help With Your Divorce
At Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz, and Bhaya, our attorneys and staff are dedicated to providing confident and knowledgeable service to clients, including taking part in helping them understand the details of their individual case.
For over 25 years, we have been helping people in Delaware with a variety of legal issues, including divorce & personal injury. Contact us today for more information or to book an appointment with one of our attorneys.