Top 7 Reasons For Divorce in the UK

Divorce happens for many different reasons. Here’s a look at the top reasons for divorce in the UK.

The journey from the registry office to the divorce solicitor’s office is rarely straightforward.

Some marriages break up because of a single dramatic event, like an affair, while other couples simply drift apart.

There are many causes of divorce, and many couples experience several at the same time.

While no fault divorce means you no longer need to list the reasons on your divorce petition, the problems couples face remain the same. 

Here’s a look at some of the top reasons for divorce in the UK.

1. Drifted apart

One of the most common reasons for divorce is that a couple simply drifted apart.

People change over time, sometimes to the point where a couple are no longer compatible with each other.

Children growing up and moving out of the family home can often be the point at which a couple feel as though the relationship is no longer working. With more free time and fewer responsibilities, children leaving home provides an opportunity for couples to reconnect on a personal level. But it can also intensify any issues that had been swept under the carpet for the sake of maintaining a harmonious family life.

2. Lack of compatibility

We’ve all heard the saying that opposites attract. Romantic comedies depend on the idea.

Unfortunately, though, there’s no evidence to suggest that it’s true. Indeed, when it comes to maintaining a stable and healthy relationship, the more you have in common with your partner, the better. But this doesn’t stop people who have little in common from getting married (and, in many cases, eventually getting divorced).

Differences that were overlooked at the beginning of the relationship can become more obvious over time, particularly once the initial thrill of romance wears off. When this happens, a couple can suddenly find themselves married to someone who doesn’t fulfil their needs.

Being stuck in an unfulfilling marriage isn’t easy. With divorce being more socially acceptable than in the past, it can seem the more attractive option.

3. Money issues

We’ve seen the scene countless times in the movies.

A couple pore over their in-goings and out-goings, trying desperately to find a way of making ends meet. Before long, our characters are arguing and thrusting divorce papers into each other’s faces.

The cliché exists for a reason: money problems are one of the main reasons why marriages break down. From being in debt, to not having enough money to cover the bills, money issues put a lot of strain on a marriage.

However, it’s not money problems as such that end up leading to divorce – couples with a strong bond can weather a lot of hardship. Rather, money issues become a problem when couples have different ideas about what to with money, like how it should be spent and saved.

For example, one partner may prioritise putting money aside each month for a rainy day. On the other hand, their spouse may be more inclined to spend that money on leisure activities, like going to restaurants and pubs. This may not be much of a problem when a couple has financial stability. But if the couple were to experience a downturn in their financial fortunes, the difference in values can become more obvious.

And that’s why money issues so often lead to divorce: when the going gets tough, a couple may find that they have less in common than they thought.

4. Infidelity

Unsurprisingly, infidelity is a common cause of divorce.

Whether it’s a one-night stand or an affair, an unfaithful spouse causes deep hurt to their partner, as well as to their marriage. While some couples can get past it, many more can’t. That's why adultery used to be one of the five grounds for divorce you could use to prove that your marriage had irretrievably broken down.

5. A lack of intimacy

Petitioners for divorce often complain about a lack of intimacy with their partner. This may be because they feel they’re not getting enough sex, or there are problems in the bedroom. But it could also be down to a lack of things like emotional closeness, and affectionate physical contact like hugging and holding hands.

A lack of intimacy often means that there’s something seriously wrong with the relationship. It can leave couples feeling that they’re more like friends than romantic partners. Couples therapy can help spouses to better appreciate their partner’s needs. Unfortunately, though, when the spark goes out of a relationship, it often doesn’t come back.

6. Poor communication

Couples who decide to call it quits often say “We can’t communicate”. This can include a variety of communication problems, from constant arguing, to avoiding difficult conversations, to flat out lying.

Effective communication is essential to maintaining a healthy marriage. Without it, problems will usually develop.

Having an open dialogue with your partner allows you to navigate the many stresses of married life, from paying a mortgage and raising children, to dealing with the loss of loved ones and other personal problems.

When communication breaks down, problems can quickly spiral out of control and feelings of resentment can grow.

For example, you may feel betrayed by your partner for not being there for you during a personal crisis. Or you may get into arguments where you say hurtful things to each other.

In some cases, couples are able work on their communication problems and develop a healthy relationship once again. However, poor communication is often caused by deeper issues that the couple is unable to address, like falling out of love.

7. Abuse

Abuse in a marriage comes in many forms, including:

  • Physical abuse (domestic abuse), where a partner physically hurts their partner

  • Emotional abuse, where a partner uses controlling behaviour and threats to hurt their partner’s well-being

  • Financial abuse, where a partner uses money to restrict their partner’s freedom

People will try to get divorced when they’re no longer able to put up with the abuse, provided they feel safe enough to do so.

Before the introduction of no fault divorce, any type of abuse would have been proof that a marriage had broken down on the ground of unreasonable behaviour.

Talk to a divorce solicitor
There are many reasons why you might want to get divorced. And you shouldn’t stay in a relationship that you don’t want to be in. But getting divorced is a big step that will significantly affect your life.

If you’re thinking about getting divorced, you should talk to a divorce solicitor for advice and support.