Top 10 Reasons for Divorce in the UK

04 January 2016

People often say Grounds for Divorce but the fact is that in English Law, there is only one Ground for Divorce; that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

When you start the divorce process, you have to prove one of the following Five Facts of Divorce which are Adultery, 2 or 5 Years Separation, Desertion and Unreasonable Behaviour.

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion
  • Separation for two years (agreed separation)
  • Separation for five years (separation not agreed)

Whilst these are the legal grounds that must be used, the reality is that there are many other reasons for a marriage breaking down. In fact, when using unreasonable behaviour, you must explain what your ex-spouse has been doing that is unreasonable.

Top 10 Reasons for Divorce in the UK

  1. Adultery – Whether this is used on a divorce petition or not, affairs are often one of the main reasons why a relationship can breakdown. The Office of National Statistics show that adultery is only stated in 14% of divorce petitions, it can be hard to prove if the other partner will not admit it. Therefore, adultery is a factor in many more divorces that the statistics suggest.
  2. Drifted Apart – Many couples don't notice that as the years go by, they move further apart. They may find that they just don't have anything that binds them together anymore and could find themselves in separate bedrooms or spending much of their lives separately.
  3. Money Problems – Money worries can put a big strain on a marriage. In fact, there was a surge of divorces in 2010 which coincided with the aftermath of the financial crisis and recession. If one partner is spending excessive amounts or getting into debt, the other may not want to continue the marriage as a result.
  4. Abuse – Physical or mental abuse in a marriage can cause irreparable damage.
  5. Addiction – There are many things to be addicted to in this day and age. Whether it is alcohol, drugs, gambling or other addictions, they can have a serious impact on a marriage and on family life. Addiction can be linked to many other of the top 10 reasons for divorce, such as money problems, unhappiness, abuse and communication issues.
  6. Different Parenting Ideas – Most couples have no idea of the difference of opinions that can arise once they have children. This can cause real conflict in a marriage, and could even result in the end of the marriage.
  7. Appearance – People change throughout their life and this may be an old cliché, but some divorces happen as a result of changes in appearance; whether this is putting on weight or looking older.
  8. Unhappiness – This can be a driving factor in divorce. Many people take the view that life is short and you should not waste time in an unhappy marriage. Life together at the beginning can be great, but once the everyday reality of your life together sinks in, your happiness, or lack of, could be a reason to get a divorce.
  9. Cultural Issues – Some cultures directly conflict with each other and this can cause tension in a marriage. Love seems to conquer all at the beginning but issues caused by culture or religion may quickly stack up.
  10. Communication Issues – Communication is the basis of all good relationships and if there is a lack of communication in a marriage this can cause frustration and ill feeling.

Divorce is never going to be a pleasant prospect, but understanding how divorce works and the implications to you and your family could help you to make a decision about how you want to move forward with your life.

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