Two people walking down the aisle together in Arizona often have specific reasons why they made the decision to tie the knot. This is also true when a couple decides to end a marriage. In order to find out the specific reasons why some couples split, the National Center for Biotechnology Information conducted a study to rank the top divorce-related factors. They did this by interviewing divorced couples who had participated in a prevention and relationship enhancement program before getting married.
Respondents were asked if their marriages ended because of a combination of factors or if there was a "final straw" that led to the decision to divorce. Interestingly, just over 13 percent of the former couples surveyed said a lack of sufficient premarital education was a factor, even though all participants had taken marriage prep courses. One ex-spouse felt that the course didn't address the various stages of marriage that couples tend to go through. Religious differences and lack of family support were other lower-ranking divorce factors that significantly affected some relationships.
Health issues, which can sometimes create debt and change the nature of a marriage, were a big factor for nearly 20 percent of the individuals polled. Many of the survey participants who reported problems with physical and emotional abuse acknowledged patterns of remorse and recurrence. Roughly 12 percent of the former couples considered substance abuse, cited as a divorce factor by nearly 35 percent of individuals questioned, their "final straw" moment. While financial stress, getting married too young and conflict were higher-ranking factors, lack of commitment topped the list, coming in above infidelity.
For most couples, it's usually multiple factors that eventually lead to the end of a marriage. When helping a soon-to-be-ex prepare for a divorce, a family law attorney may attempt to identify specific factors involved. Part of the reason for doing so is to get an idea of how cooperative both parties will likely be during the process of working out a fair settlement. In some situations, a lawyer might suggest that a couple consider counseling before making a final decision to split, especially if the factors involved are potentially resolvable.