The Most Common Reasons Marriages Fail, According To Divorce Lawyers
Who holds the key to keeping marriages together? Divorce attorneys play a surprising role in identifying what causes a divorce to happen (and are expert advisors on how to keep it from happening to you).
Sep 20, 2017 by
When someone walks into Adam Dodge’s law office and asks the attorney to begin drawing up divorce papers, the first thought that goes through his mind is “Why?”
“Basically, it wasn’t a partnership anymore, but I realized this in hindsight. At the time I just would have said, ‘I’m really lonely.”
Divorce rates have been climbing steadily in the past 50 years, and no one knows that better than the divorce attorneys whose job it is to help dissolve a marriage. The way Dodge looks at it, it’s also a divorce attorney’s job to figure out what caused their clients’ marriages to fail, so they can help them along the path to divorce.
But knowing why people divorce doesn’t just help a lawyer help their clients. It also presents them with the opportunity to tell couples what not to do in their own relationships so they can avoid winding up in a courtroom.
“It’s like that old song, you’ve lost that loving feeling.”
Her story is all too common and all too familiar for attorneys like Bregman. Many people walk into his office saying things like “I’m unhappy.”
Sometimes it’s because the partners have gone in different directions, sometimes because one is taking the other for granted. Often, Bregman’s clients will use phrases like “we’ve grown apart” or “the romance is gone,” to describe their feelings of loneliness.
Bottom line: If your partner uses terms like “lonely,” or “unhappy,” start talking. Immediately!
But Patterson’s ex didn’t file for either the GI Bill or unemployment, nor did he look for a job. No matter how much she begged, he refused to move forward. By the time Patterson walked out of the couple’s nearly 10-year marriage, their joint bank account was empty and Patterson was depending on food stamps to feed their kids.
“People are much more aware of the instability created by staying in a marriage with someone that lacks financial responsibility.”
Regina A. DeMeo, an attorney who has been practicing law in the Bethesda, Maryland, area for the past 18 years, says she’s seen a sharp spike in “people wanting out because of financial differences or financial infidelity” since the recession of 2008.
The money issues that send people into DeMeo’s office are always unique to the couple, but they tend to fall into two basic camps: The marriage where one person says the other is spending too much or the marriage where one spouse feels the other isn’t maximizing their earnings or savings. That can mean anything from someone who doesn’t save to the person who feels like their spouse should work harder or move up the ladder faster at their job.
Somebody got (too) social.
But while affairs are responsible for about 40 percent of all the divorces she handles, McIlven tells HealthyWay she’s seeing a modern twist on the old story of late. “With the popularity of social media, we have seen an increase in people having affairs,” she notes. “Or perhaps, they just get caught more often!”
“I found a suspicious E-Z Pass transaction.”
Amanda Warner (name changed) knows all too well that this can happen. Her 10-year marriage was undone by online connections seven years ago.
“We had just had a very sad and miserable 10th anniversary,” she recalls. “And I found a suspicious E-ZPass transaction.”
In one study published in 2014 in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, researchers from Boston University and Chile’s Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile noted a negative correlation between social media usage and “marriage quality and happiness.” Researchers also tied use of social media to “experiencing a troubled relationship and thinking about divorce.”
Them’s fightin’ words.
“Clients must set about verifying the threat’s accuracy, and often the best place to do that is in the office of a divorce attorney.”
Dodge often hears from clients that their spouse said things like “You’ll have to get a job immediately!” or “You’ll never see the kids again.” Another popular threat is “I’m going to take everything.”
“Legal threats require very little effort by the party making them but can intimidate an uniformed recipient into acting against their own best interests,” Dodge notes. “Clients must set about verifying the threat’s accuracy, and often the best place to do that is in the office of a divorce attorney.”
Feeling heated? Find a healthy way to blow off steam and choose your words wisely.