The top 8 reasons for divorce

8 common reasons for divorce and what the experts think

Brides and grooms typically go into a marriage thinking until death do us part. Still, for every 1,000 marriages in the US in 2019, 14.9 ended in divorce — which was a 50-year low.

If you’re going through a divorce and aren’t financially prepared, there are resources that may be able to help. And though the road ahead will be difficult, it might help to consider what life could look like after the divorce.

What are the most common reasons for divorce?

The following are only contributing factors and not legal grounds for divorce, though there is some overlap.

1. Money
Perhaps unsurprisingly, finances are one of the most common reasons for divorce proceedings and is a top reason why couples argue. In fact, a survey conducted by Finder in 2020 found that about a third (33.78%) of American adults would reconsider a romantic partnership due to a partner’s debt. In short: It’s a good idea to balance that checkbook.

Ironically the average cost of a divorce with an attorney is about $10,000. If finances were the reason for your nuptial negation consider some alternative options for ending it. There are less expensive online divorce services that can save you money if you have an uncontested divorce.

2. Addictions
According to Health Street, 7.3% of divorces are a result of drug or alcohol addiction. Whether it’s prescription drugs, sex, alcohol or illegal narcotics, addictions can become a strain on relationships. Also, addiction can sometimes lead to other behaviors that are the catalyst for divorce, such as money mismanagement, infidelity and abuse.

Seeking and participating in treatment for addictions is the first step after addressing the problem. While the survival of your marriage may not depend on the addicted partner’s treatment, it could save their lives. If you or your partner is struggling with addiction, please seek assistance from an accredited and trusted treatment center.

3. Commitment issues
A study by Couple Family Psychol found a “lack of commitment” to be the number one reason couples got divorced, with 75% of couples citing this as the reason for their relationship breakdown. In this context, “commitment” has two references: the first being intimacy and romantic feelings, the second involving willingness to build the relationship together.

4. Infidelity
In a 2020 study conducted by Finder, it was found that Americans were about four times more likely to cheat on their significant other than on their taxes. Roughly 8.8 million Americans admitted to cheating on their taxes versus the 34.1 million who admitted to cheating on their partner.

5. Abuse
Domestic abuse can take many forms, from financial to emotional to physical to sexual. With the pandemic, domestic violence has been a rising global concern. For example,Google reported a 75% increase in searches related to domestic abuse support in Australia. With resources limited due to social distancing and people being required to be confined or quarantined together for long periods, tensions can run high.

The abuse might not always be directed at the partner. Abuse toward children might also be a reason couples split. If you struggle with abuse, or have and believe you may relapse, call 800-662-4357 to reach the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s hotline.

6. Getting married too young
Getting married too young is one of the most commonly cited reasons for divorce. However, it will be interesting to see whether this continues to be one of the top reasons going forward, with the average age of marriage in the US continuing to increase. The average age of those getting married reached an all-time high in 2018 for both men (29.8 years old) and women (27.8 years old).

7. Health issues
When a spouse becomes their partner’s primary caregiver due to an illness, it can create a stressful environment for all. Beyond the financial demands, the time commitment for care and other sacrifices can wear down a relationship. In a 2009 study on gender, illness and partner abandonment, it showed women are more likely to experience separation and divorce after experiencing a serious illness.

8. Lack of communication
While we have more ways of communicating now more than ever, it seems we still can’t get it right sometimes. Frustration and anger can reach a boiling point when constructive communication isn’t present in a relationship.

A 2013 survey claimed communication problems as a top reason leading to divorces, according to over 60% of 100 mental health experts. While counseling and mediation could be used to work through it, reconciliation isn’t guaranteed.

Experts’ thoughts on divorce during the pandemic

Many professionals have predicted and claimed a spike in divorces due to the pandemic whereas other studies suggest otherwise because of restricted movement and lacking resources, making divorce proceedings less attainable.

We spoke with a few experts for their perspectives on divorce during the coronavirus outbreak. Here are their thoughts:

What role has the coronavirus pandemic played in the reasons couples are divorcing?

Lisa Bustos headshot
Lisa Bustos
Bustos Family Law PLLC

2020 has been a universally difficult year for everyone. New challenges, such as online learning decisions, spending an inordinate amount of time with family, or unexpected unemployment. However, almost every single new client who has come to me has been thinking of this prior to the pandemic. The problems in people’s marriages have often existed for years, but now people are inspired to make a change in their lives. They can no longer tolerate the pain that they suppressed or ignored for so long. Everyone is looking for some kind of relief this year, and for some people, that means ending their marriage.

Dori Shwirtz headshot
Dori Shwirtz
Marital & Divorce Mediator at Divorce Harmony

I have found that the coronavirus hasn’t necessarily increased the number of people divorcing, it’s just sped up the process for the people who were already on their way anyway. Having to spend increased time in a confined space with your spouse kind of holds up a big scary mirror onto the relationship. Cracks that could be overlooked pre pandemic are now front and center.

How have factors for divorce during the pandemic differed from previous years?

Terry Gaspard headshot
Terry Gaspard
Licensed therapist
Moving Past Divorce

As the world grapples with the Coronavirus pandemic, daily life has been turned upside-down. People across the globe have been confronted with unprecedented and unimaginable changes and must now navigate a myriad of unforeseen stressors, from the obvious health concerns to financial uncertainty.

For media inquiries:

Allan Givens headshot

Allan Givens
Public Relations Manager

Nicole Gallina headshot

Nicole Gallina
Finance PR Strategist

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site