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Why Do People Get Divorced? A New Jersey Divorce Lawyer Perspective


Divorce is not a rare occurrence in the U.S., even if it feels to each individual the most singularly trying experience of their life. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that within the first five years of marriage, 22 percent of couples experience a “disruption,” which can mean separation, divorce or death. After two decades, that figure reaches 53 percent.

As longtime New Jersey divorce lawyers, we understand that every union is unique, as are the reasons why they dissolve. But while all couples struggle, there are some common threads that continuously crop up among marriages that don’t make it.

It should be noted that the research on this topic (and it is a commonly-asked question) has resulted in widely varying answers. This is likely because couples queried about this often cite the “last straw.” They may indicate it was an affair – which inevitably played a role – but may have actually been preceded by a long stretch of lacking intimacy, commitment or other lacking compatibility.

What we see underpinning a lot of marital breakdowns is betrayal. That doesn’t always mean infidelity, though it can be. It’s more often a betrayal of the hopes and dreams they had for themselves when they first decided to marry. Sometimes those expectations weren’t realistic to begin with. Maybe red flags were ignored. But oftentimes, our client feels betrayed about promises not kept and expectations not met. This can lead to a cycle of conflict that, without communication and equal commitment from both parties will never be resolved.

Some of the most common reasons people cite in their divorces:

  • Compatibility issues. When people first get married, they tend to smooth over the rough edges of the other person’s flaws and differences. Being in love naturally has that effect. But overtime, divergent views on parenting, religion or (increasingly) politics can become a huge wedge between couples. It can be exacerbated if the two don’t share many common interests. It can lead to feelings of overall boredom or constant agitation with the other person. Incompatible sexual drives too are often a driving force.
  • Irreconcilable differences. This is the most common legal terminology used when people file for a no-fault divorce in New Jersey. It just basically means that the two have reached a point that they no longer have a desire to work on a marriage.
  • Money trouble. Those in a partnership may have two very different relationships with money, and sometimes, the truth of that doesn’t come out until well into the marriage. But money is a finite resource for almost everyone, so conflicting feelings about earning, saving, spending and sharing money can be major sticking points. It’s often not as much about the money itself as the way in which it highlights a clear differentiation of shared personal values.
  • Poor communication. Or no communication. Relationships, like plants, need a few key things to survive. That may look a little different for each one, but very, very few can survive without functional communication. Marital counseling can sometimes help resolve differences of communication styles, but both parties must be willing to work at it.
  • Recurring conflict. Anytime there is frequent or intense bickering or fighting, it’s going to be toxic to the relationship. Everyone is going to have disagreements, but it’s how you do it. In some cases, this conflict turns abusive, and at that point, the target of the abuse needs to prioritize their safety first.
  • An affair. This is one many people find they simply cannot get over. There are often problems leading up to that point, but the decision to cheat can be devastating to a marriage. Whether one can weather the storm will depend on the ability of those involved to put in the hard work to restore trust and forgive.
  • An addiction. This is not just to alcohol or other substances, but to shopping, prescription drugs, sex or gambling. When the spouse who is addicted refuses to acknowledge a problem, declines treatment, or risks the bodily safety and financial stability of themselves and others, marriages often crumble.
  • Marrying too young. Those who marry young can make it – but it’s tough. People do a lot of growing up in their late teens and into their 20s. Marrying before each of you has figured out who you are – or how circumstances might change you – often leads to divorce.

These aren’t the only issues cited. Others can include unrealistic expectations, conflict with in-laws, mental illness/disability, etc. No matter what the reasons, our dedicated New Jersey divorce lawyers are here to help you navigate the legal and financial pitfalls so that you’re free to write a better next chapter.

Contact us at (732) 810-0034 or email us through our website.