Over my many years specializing in family law, I have seen people marry and divorce for every possible logical and illogical reason. Over the past few years, since 2008 and 2009 when our economy imploded, and we have gone through the worst economic times since the Great Depression, many people have stayed together because they can’t afford a divorce. I am now seeing an upturn in divorces as the economy starts to improve. Here are my observations on some key reasons why people file for divorce.
11. Economic problems are a tremendous cause of stress. People losing jobs, their homes, businesses failing. A drastic reduction in income, equity in your home, and not having enough money creates tremendous tension and often leads to divorce.
10. Alcohol problems. Alcoholism and abuse of alcohol are a major issue leading to divorce. People in dysfunctional marriages where alcohol plays a role may stay together for many years until one or the other gets help, and then the dynamics change, leading to a divorce.
9. People growing apart. In long-term marriages, I have seen people who have raised their children and then wonder–what next? The question that is often asked once the children are out of the house – Do I want to spend the rest of your life with this man/woman? Do you share enough common interests? Will there be a bond to hold you together once you reach retirement? These questions, and different answers, often lead to divorce.
8. Gambling issues. I have seen many people lose their jobs, their marriages, their homes and professions, due to addiction to gambling. Casinos in the Detroit Metropolitan area where I practice have resulted in many marital breakups, as has gambling on line, just to name some examples.
7. Drugs. I have seen people addicted to heroine, marijuana, and cocaine, all of which have led to divorce. Addiction to antidepressants, Vicodin, and other prescription drugs, have led to the breakdown of many marriages.
6. Addiction to the internet. I have had marriages fail where people will spend many hours every day shopping online, e-mailing, playing games, or just being online to the exclusion of their families.
5. Addiction to pornography. I see this in many divorces. Before the internet, there were issues with regard to videos and DVDs. Now there are more and more people who spend hours watching pornography online, and contacting people online, which often leads to the next issue.
4. Infidelity. Have all of my clients been unfaithful? Far from it. But I have seen it in many cases. Many spouses will forgive an affair, especially if there is marriage counseling. A key issue is, can that affair be forgiven? Can you move on and rebuild? Can there be trust again? I believe that counseling is critical in the event of infidelity. The key question in these cases, especially if it is an isolated situation, is whether the marriage was bad and someone strayed, or someone strayed without any justification. As an attorney, I do not make moral judgments, but I see infidelity as a major cause of divorce.
3. Many people get married for the wrong reasons. They are lonely. They get married on impulse. I have had many cases where people will take a trip together, especially to Las Vegas, and come home married. The old saying that fools rush in where wise men fear to tread, is very true, especially with regard to marriage. Look before you leap. Don’t jump into a marriage and find out that you have made a huge mistake. Go slow in any relationship.
2. Abuse. This can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, but abusive behavior is a major reason for divorce.
1. A total inability to communicate. In marriage, people communicate on many levels. If you cannot communicate, seek a marriage counselor. Try to save a marriage, because divorce should be the last resort. When two people are not communicating, especially if there are problems at the beginning of a marriage, perhaps they should not have gotten married in the first place. I am sure that you can come up with many more reasons as to why marriages end, but these are some of the key reasons that I have seen over the years.