What Is the Main Cause of Divorce in the U.S.?


The American Psychological Association reports that 90 percent of individuals get married before the age of 50. However, only half of these marriages last the test of time. There is no one answer to why about half of marriages fail, but we can look at some of the main causes of divorce in the U.S. 

Several factors can undermine a marriage, leading to the marriage’s dissolution. Read on for more information about the main causes of divorce. The Bright Family Law Center, LLC strongly advises gaining a solid understanding of divorce law to successfully navigate through this challenging circumstance.

Leading Causes of Divorce in the United States


An extramarital affair can cause negative emotions, broken confidence in the marriage, and create irreconcilable differences. According to a study conducted by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, as many as 25% of married men and 15% of married women have had extramarital affairs.

Financial Conflict

Tension over finances can contribute to friction in any partnership. When spouses have different lifestyles and values on spending or different financial goals, this can lead to conflict. A financial disagreement is often the “final straw” that leads to divorce.

Studies also show that frequent fights about money strongly predict divorce. Since high levels of stress can accompany financial discussions, for some married couples, this stress may be too much to bear. 

Divorce Data

Surveys published in Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice outlined seven common reasons for divorce. The average length of marriage for these couples was 12.2 years, and the median age of the participants was 25.4 years old.

The study found that the primary reason for divorce was lack of commitment, closely followed by infidelity and conflict in the family: 

  • Lack of commitment (75.0%)
  • Infidelity (59.6%)
  • Family conflict (57.7%)
  • Young age at marriage (45.1%)
  • Financial discrepancies (36.7%)
  • Substance abuse (34.6%)
  • Domestic violence (23.5%)
  • Severe diseases or physical incapacity (18.2%)

Married couples in their 50s, 60s, and 70s face unique challenges because of the major life transitions that are occurring. These couples often face empty nests after children leave, financial issues, retirement, and declining health, which can pose insurmountable challenges.

Several surveys have been conducted on the reasons for divorce among various age groups and demographics. It turns out that divorce may be caused by low levels of education, certain religious beliefs or behaviors, age, and race.

Studies on the connection between divorce and physical or mental health show that the presence of a mental disorder in one of the spouses (20%), the inability to have children (27%), and alcohol addiction (21.1%) all contribute to divorce rates. 

A Proven Divorce Lawyer in Overland Park 

Divorce can be an emotional process while also being a sensitive financial transaction. Skilled and experienced Overland Park divorce lawyers will protect your rights and work toward a positive outcome as you embark on a new chapter in your life. 

A divorce attorney shares his opinion: “Divorces involving public figures, such as celebrities, often come with their own set of unique challenges and considerations.”

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