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Common Causes of Divorce

Wondering why American couples are getting divorced? Below, we will discuss some of the leading causes of divorce in America.


Abuse of any kind is unconscionable. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in the United States, about 20 people are physically abused by their partner each minute. The CDC reports that approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience intimate partner violence—specifically sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by a partner—in their lifetime. After suffering mental, verbal, or emotional abuse or domestic violence of any kind, a spouse may leave the marriage and file for divorce.


If someone’s spouse is addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, or any illicit substance or activity, the addiction can impact many facets of their marriage. Specifically, the couple can have issues with trust and finances that cannot be overcome after a certain point.


According to data from Divorce Magazine, at some point in their marriage or relationship, 45%-50% of married women and 50%-60% of married men have an affair, and only 60%-75% of couples who experience this form of betrayal remain married. Many couples cannot forgive physical or emotional affairs, and even if they try to move past the betrayal, the affair can impact the trust between the couple, the hurt party’s willingness to be vulnerable again, and each party’s view of their relationship.

Lack of Compatibility

A Pew Research Center survey revealed that almost 7 in 10 married couples say that their partner shares their religious beliefs. Even though that is a large number, research also suggests that having the same religion as your spouse is less important to most couples today. However, a common cause of divorce cited by couples is being incompatible because of differing viewpoints on religion, core beliefs or values, and/or life. Having such different beliefs can lead to issues with in-laws and family, child-rearing, and day-to-day life, which can cause tension between couples.

Lack of Equality

Couples may often disagree on the division of marital responsibilities. While one party may feel like they shoulder the most responsibility, which is unfair, the other party may feel underappreciated for what they believe are significant contributions. A lack of perceived equality can lead to tension, resentments, or arguments without healthy communication and compromise.

Lack of Intimacy

Couples may have different sex drives and/or emotional needs. If those needs are not being met, they can feel unfulfilled in the relationship and drift apart.

Money Issues

Marriages (and many types of relationships) can break down because of money issues. Going back to the lack of equality, a higher-earning spouse may resent the other party, or the lower-earning spouse may resent the higher earner. Other financial issues that can lead to divorce include:

  • Having the added stress of large debts and/or living paycheck to paycheck
  • Not sharing the same financial goals
  • Having vastly different spending habits
  • Struggling to maintain a job
  • Not dividing financial responsibilities in a way that each spouse respects/agrees with
  • Taking a pay cut or changing careers without consulting the other spouse

Tragedies or Health Scares

If either party suffers a serious injury or is diagnosed with a serious illness, the couple may struggle with the added strain of the health issues. Couples also often struggle to stay together if they suffer the loss of a child (whether because of a tragic accident or health issues). Such tragedies can test a couple’s relationship.

No-Fault vs. Fault-Based Divorce in Pennsylvania

The reasons you are seeking a divorce can impact whether you file on no-fault or fault-based grounds. It is also important to note that the reason for your divorce can have a bearing on your divorce proceedings. Specifically, marital conduct can have an impact on alimony and property division settlements in Pennsylvania.

If you file no-fault, you and your spouse are agreeing that your marriage has irretrievably broken down and that neither party is to blame for the dissolution of your marriage. While you may want to blame your spouse and have them held legally responsible, filing on fault-based grounds can mean that:

  • The proceedings take longer because you have to prove fault.
  • The chances of the process being amicable or low-stress will drastically decrease.
  • Your children may be negatively impacted by the litigation process.
  • You risk others learning about the details of your divorce as divorce records are public.

How to Avoid an Expensive Divorce: $299 Uncontested, No-Fault Divorces

At Cairns Law Offices, we offer couples an easy, low-cost way to obtain a divorce in Pennsylvania. For as little as $29 (to start), you can start the filing process for a no-fault, uncontested divorce. We use technology to help streamline the divorce process and ensure that getting divorced doesn’t break our clients’ banks. It is important to note that we cannot help you if you do not plan to file uncontested, no-fault.

Learn more about our streamlined divorce process. Contact us online or call (888) 863-9115 today.

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