Divorce in the 1920s was much less heard of than it is in the 2020s. But even then, couples who chose to divorce did so for many of the same reasons people cite today. Infidelity, financial disagreements or problems, and abuse were and are common causes of marriages breaking down.
Some divorce grounds, though, like mental illness, desertion, cruelty, and alcoholism, were highly specific because one of the parties had to prove “fault” on the other party’s part. Fortunately, most states in the US are now no-fault divorce states, which means divorcing couples don’t need to prove to the court that one of the spouses is to blame.
Florida is one of the country’s no-fault divorce states; its 1971 Dissolution of Marriage Act offers couples a pathway to a divorce where neither party’s legally at fault. Though far more people get married in a given year than they get divorced, about half of first marriages do eventually end up in divorce. A higher percentage of second and third marriages also end.
Let’s look at the top causes of divorce in 2023, the statistics behind them, and how things have changed over the years.
Top 10 Causes of Divorce in 2023
Despite increased access to marriage counseling, premarital education, and family therapy, divorce is a persistent reality in our society. And even as the overall divorce rate has decreased among adults ages 16 to 65, it’s estimated 45% of marriages in the US end in divorce.
Issues that come up most often for couples divorcing are:
Sometimes couples are simply incompatible. They may have conflicting views on how to raise children, spend and save money, or communicate. Often referred to as “irreconcilable differences,” these clashes can lead to increasing disagreements where the couple decides they can’t work things out, and divorce is their best path forward.
Once seen as the primary driver of divorce, especially for women, today, infidelity or adultery is no longer the most common reason. Still, whether they’re faced with the fallout from an emotional or physical affair, many couples do not recover. And that’s usually due to ongoing trust issues.
3. Domestic Violence
People who have been physically, sexually, or emotionally abused by their spouse often find divorce the way to live freely and without fear. If you are in an abusive relationship, you do not need to prove that in court to get a divorce. However, as Florida is an equitable distribution state, providing the court with evidence of the abuse could weigh on any decisions with respect to spousal support and asset division.
4. Financial Issues
Financial issues have long been a stressor in marriages. In the past, many of the problems were related to the inequality caused by men being the main breadwinners. Today, the rising cost of living and economic uncertainty are primary money issues in a marriage.
Couples with differing opinions regarding financial goals, debt, and other money matters frequently find themselves arguing and becoming resentful. The list of problems related to finances is extensive, so it’s no surprise that money-related conflicts can have a negative impact on marriage.
5. Communication Problems
As married life gets more stressful, including when children enter the picture, frequent and open communication is often one of the first things to suffer. Several studies show technology and social media have made it easier than ever for couples to avoid real-life conversations and start making assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling. Counseling can help miscommunicating couples get back on track.
6. Growing Apart
Getting married at a young age or for the wrong reasons are two other common reasons cited in divorce cases. That probably explains why the highest rate of divorces occurs in couples in their 20s, where youth contributes to a lack of the mutual understanding and emotional connection required for a healthy marriage.
7. Change in Life Priorities
On average, people now live longer than they did in the past, meaning they also have more opportunities to explore different aspects of themselves. When couples find they no longer have the same goals and values, it’s not unusual for them to consider divorce so they get to live out their lives in a way that reflects their current needs. Life-changing events like a major illness or the death of a child can also severely test a couple’s relationship.
8. Lack of Intimacy
As many relationships evolve, they take on a more emotional intimacy compared to the physical intimacy that they had at the start. It’s a normal progression that many couples accept, but if one person’s emotional or sexual needs aren’t being met, the relationship could begin to feel unfulfilling, which can lead to divorce.
In healthy marriages, both people contribute to important decisions and compromise on critical issues. If one spouse is constantly “in charge,” the other spouse can become resentful and unheard. Or one spouse can take on the heavy lifting of keeping the relationship going, which can cause them to feel undervalued and taken advantage of.
If either spouse has a substance abuse problem, it can result in a lot of tension and mistrust. Addicts tend to prioritize their needs regardless of whether it’s harming them, their spouse, the children, or the marriage. Without intervention and recovery, this issue is often difficult to overcome.
Are There Advantages to Getting a Divorce?
Many people are surprised to hear that there are good reasons to choose divorce, particularly when the couple has irreconcilable differences, a communication breakdown, or has simply grown apart. In those cases, leaving an unfulfilling marriage is an opportunity to rebuild their lives and find new and more fulfilling relationships if they desire.
Whatever your reasons for seeking a divorce, consulting with a Family Law attorney about your options and what to expect can help make the process as stress-free as possible.
The divorce attorneys at Cobb Cole provide counsel on a full range of family law matters, including separation, divorce, child custody and support, and more. Recognizing that divorce is painful, even if it’s what both parties want, we take a compassionate approach to all types of divorce issues. We’re dedicated to creating a divorce legal strategy that achieves the best possible results for you and your children.
Contact us today to learn more about Florida’s divorce process and how our Firm can help.