Reasons for Divorce

There are many reasons for divorce that lead to the dissolution of a marriage. Reasons for divorce in the past had to show blame for the dissolution of the marriage against one of the spouses. Most states today have “no-fault” divorce which means that the reasons for divorce do not have to prove fault by any party. Eighty percent of all divorces are granted on the basis of irreconcilable differences.

Some states do still allow the reasons for divorce to be stated in a divorce proceeding which allows for divorce on grounds other than irreconcilable differences. In these cases, the following reasons for divorce might be considered sufficient grounds for the dissolution of a marriage: adultery, cruelty, abandonment, incurable insanity, felony conviction or incarceration, addiction to drugs or alcohol, and a consistent period of separation between a husband and wife.

The reasons for divorce are never simple and are usually never the result of just one factor in a marriage. Reasons for divorce that are cited by family legal experts include poor communication, financial problems, lack of commitment, infidelity, and dramatic changes in individual priorities. Reasons for divorce may also include problems pertaining to the premarital relationship, specific interrelationship dynamics, problem behaviors, and significant discrepancies in parenting styles. Physical, emotional, mental, and substance abuse are also cited as reasons for divorce.

Reasons for divorce might relate to the quality and circumstances of a premarital relationship. People whose own parents are divorced are twice as likely to get divorced themselves as are people whose parents are still married. People whose parents are divorced may have a lower threshold for marital conflict and are more likely to find reasons for divorce than reasons to stay married.

Couples who cohabit before marriage are also more likely to have strong reasons for divorce that lead to the dissolution of a marriage. This is thought to be due to a number of factors including the pressure on cohabiting couples to marry and the fact that people often take living together less seriously than they do marriage.

Reasons for divorce that lead to the dissolution of a marriage are most often cited during the seventh or eighth year into a marriage. Often called the seven-year itch, this is the time when a couple is most likely to get a divorce. Reasons for divorce beyond this time are less likely to lead to divorce, as evidenced by marriage statistics that show an inverse relationship between reasons for divorce and length of the marriage.

Reasons for divorce can involve major events in a marriage, such as physical abuse or adultery, or more complex factors, such as incompatibility, failed expectations, unmet needs, and lack of conflict resolution skills. Couples who are considering the termination of their marriage should carefully consider their reasons for divorce before initiating this life-changing decision. Contacting a qualified and experienced divorce lawyer can be an important first step when considering the reasons for divorce in your circumstances.

What does the term “Contested Divorce” mean?

Another one from a client consultation: people use the term “contested divorce” – does that mean that my spouse can prevent me from getting a divorce?

No, under divorce law, one spouse can not fight against a divorce going through the courts. What the term “contested divorce” indicates is that there are issues that the parties don’t agree on. These points are usually child custody, visitation and support; division of assets, property and debts; and spousal support.

When considering which issues to contest in your divorce, you should consider the costs. Litigating divorce issues is very costly, and can be unpredictable. The more that you are able to agree to with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, the less you’ll spend on your divorce. A good legal advisor will let you know what the likely outcome is for any particular issue in your case, as well as what a rough estimate of costs might be.

Dissolutions, Annulments and Separations

Family law involves dissolving marital relationships, and determining how to deal with children, assets and debts that arose in those relationships.

The following are the three main types of ways marriages are typically ended or altered:


Annulments, or nullity judgments, can be obtained under certain circumstances including fraud, and lack of informed consent. An annulment restores the parties to the status of unmarried persons. Rather than dissolving the marriage, as in divorce, an annulment erases the marriage and its implications. Although most people believe that the length of time since the marriage is a factor in obtaining an annulment, that is not necessarily true.

Legal Separations

Legal separations are different from divorces. In a legal separation, the parties remain legally married. The parties live in separate residences, and the court enters orders about what will happen while the parties are separated. These orders may include child custody and support, spousal support, as well as division of assets and debts.


Divorce, more commonly known as “dissolution” in California, is the dissolving of a marital relationship. Divorce involves filing papers with the court and dividing the assets and debts between the two parties. Depending on certain factors, one spouse may be ordered to pay financial support to the other. If children are involved, the court will also consider child custody, visitation and support.