There are many causes of divorce and they’re far more complicated than the short list of legal definitions like adultery and unreasonable behaviour.
Most people go into a marriage or civil partnership expecting to be together for life – so what are the causes of divorce that lead those couples to change their minds?
As experienced family mediators, we have encountered the full range of reasons for divorce, and there are some common categories that come up time and time again.
If you are coming to realise that your relationship is no longer as strong as you once believed it to be, here are several of the main areas where you may have started to notice the stress.
Money is one of the most common causes of divorce. Whether you live as a dual income household or with one major breadwinner and one stay-at-home spouse, budgeting and spending – and especially debt – can create schisms in a happy relationship.
One partner being extremely bad at money management can even constitute ‘unreasonable behaviour’ for the purposes of divorce, as can finance-related problems like gambling addiction.
Finances can also make divorce more difficult – for example if you don’t have any savings to use to set up separate homes, cover security deposits and rent etc.
Divorce mediation can help to ease the cost burden somewhat by taking negotiations away from the court system to help you reach an agreement with fewer fees along the way.
‘Dependants’ typically relates to children but in a broader sense, anyone you care for or have responsibility for can eventually become a cause for divorce.
That can start with disagreements over parenting styles or even whether to have children at all, while later in life it can be about which school your child goes to or how you support them when they reach adulthood.
But any third party can complicate the relationship, including elderly relatives who you take on carer responsibilities for, foster children and adoption, and even disagreements over the family pet.
Often these are a catalyst rather than a divorce-level incident in their own right, but they can sow the seeds of doubt that lead you to notice other aspects of your relationship that you’re not happy with.
A common thread that connects many of the major causes of divorce is communication, or a lack of it.
Healthy relationships rely on being able to discuss your problems, share that burden and work together to find a solution.
If the communication breaks down, it becomes much more difficult to sustain the strength of the relationship.
As family mediators we work to restore the lines of communication, whether that allows amicable progress in divorce proceedings, or even potentially recovers the relationship.
In either case, effective communication is the way to understand both sides of the discussion, and to work together to find a solution – even if that means divorcing with dignity and the best possible chance to remain friends for the future.
Communication is at the heart of Marcia Mediation. If you are struggling in your relationship and think separation might be the next step, we will help both of you talk through the issues you are experiencing and help you find a solution.