Causes of Divorce May Not Be What You Think

Posted on Nov 07, 2013

Several recent studies have found that infidelity is no longer the most popular cause for divorce. Now, a new study out of the United Kingdom has found that not only is infidelity an increasingly rare reason for divorce—the most common cause of divorce is “unreasonable behavior.”

The study, which was conducted by Co-Operative Legal Services, analyzed data from over 5 million divorces across a four-decade period. Researchers found that while infidelity was the cause of almost 30 percent of those divorced in the 1970s, it is currently listed as the cause of divorce in about 15 percent of the cases.

On the other hand, unreasonable behavior is currently the leading cause of divorce, accounting for 47 percent of splits in the United Kingdom.

What is considered unreasonable behavior? Researchers gave a few examples: a spouse who makes his wife feel guilty for going out with friends, a husband caught cross-dressing, or a spouse who destroys the family savings.

Researchers are not sure why divorce due to adultery is dropping, or why unreasonable behavior is ending more marriages.

Another Reason for Divorce May Be Secret Spending

The 1980s had the highest rates of divorce due to adultery, while the 1990s had the highest rates of divorce due to any cause. Currently, about one out of three marriages end in divorce. Five times as many divorces are occurring now as in the 1950s. Possibly because there is less of a stigma surrounding divorce and because women may be better equipped to leave bad marriages. Divorce rates are also rising significantly among the over-60 population.

It has long been common knowledge that money problems are one of the most common reasons for divorce. But now a new study conducted by the price comparison company MoneySuperMarket has found that secret spending may be causing more separations and divorces than previously suspected.

The study, which polled 1,000 people via online survey, found that ten percent of those who were divorced admitted that secret credit card purchases had an affect on their relationship. Another one in ten people who responded to the survey said that stealthy credit card purchases caused arguments with their spouse. 15 percent of respondents said that they had lied about their credit card spending with their spouse or partner.

Why do experts believe that secret credit card spending is harmful to relationships? Usually, purchases are kept a secret because they are not necessary and because one spouse believes that the other spouse will disapprove.

The survey also uncovered other interesting information regarding spending and relationships: men spend about $200 more each month than women on their personal credit cards, while women are more likely to keep purchases a secret—about 60 percent said that they had quietly bought items without telling their partner.

Money isn’t just an issue that can lead to divorce, it is also an issue that can make divorce more complex. It is vital that you know your family’s financial situation—and your partner’s financial situation—during the divorce process. 

Long Commutes Could Also Be a Factor in Divorce

In the past, researchers have correlated long commutes with stress, obesity, health issues, neck pain, and even insomnia. Now, a new study found that a long commute to work can seriously affect your relationship and increase your chances of divorce. 

In the United States, about 500,000 people across the country commute 90 minutes or longer in order to get to work. Research shows that commuting longer than 30 minutes each way to your job could affect your physical and emotional health. 

In the newest study, conducted by Erika Sandow, a Swedish social geographer with Umeö University, researchers followed over 186,000 long-distance commuters who were in long-term partnerships and studied the effects of the commute over a ten-year period, spanning from 1995 to 2005. The study found that commuters who drove more than 30 miles each way to work had a 14 percent greater chance of breaking up and that those who had commutes that were 90 minutes or longer were 40 percent more likely to get divorced. However, the study also found that the effects of a long commute stopped being associated with divorce after a five-year-period; that is, commutes did not seem to affect a family once they were weathered or had adapted for several years.  

Although the study attempted to correct for other factors, it is important to consider what kind of people have long commutes and why. Poor families, families who live in rural areas, and workers who have trouble finding employment are more likely to have long commutes—and these groups also tend to have higher divorce rates. However, a commute could also affect the family in other ways—it means less time helping with household chores, less time helping with child rearing, and less time connecting with their spouse. 

The study’s findings were presented last week at the Association of American Geographers annual conference. 

Do you need a divorce due to the unreasonable behavior of your spouse? Call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today to speak with a Seattle divorce attorney at 425-460-0550.

Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney
Molly B. Kenny's Bellevue family law office is conveniently located on Lake Bellevue Drive, making it easily accessible to those in the greater Seattle area. Our divorce and child custody lawyers help men and women get the information, guidance, and compassionate representation they need.
Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny