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Ryan Family Law, P.C.

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Survey looks at main reasons for divorce

There are obviously many reasons why marriages in Illinois and around the country might end, but some of them might be because of a lack of commitment, infidelity or too much conflict. These were the top three reasons cited in a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

There were 21 men and 31 women involved in the study, and all had participated in a program called PREP. This was a program designed to improve couples’ communication and help with conflict resolution prior to getting married. The study focused on couples who had divorced 14 years later. Couples were permitted to select more than one reason.

Some couples cited getting married too young as the reason for their divorce while more than one-third mentioned financial problems. Studies have shown that not just financial problems but different attitudes about money can also contribute to marital discord. Substance abuse was a significant problem in many relationships, and 12 percent of people cited it as the last straw in ending the marriage. Nearly one-fourth said domestic violence was an issue, and almost 20 percent said health problems had created a strain. Other reasons included not enough family support and religious differences. Some also said that despite their participation in the PREP program, they felt they had insufficient marital counseling. In particular, they said they did not understand how marriage changed over time.

The reason for a couple getting a divorce may affect negotiations over property division and child custody. For example, if physical abuse is a factor, the parent who is abused may not want the other parent to have access to the children. If couples are divorcing for financial reasons, one person may want to be careful about not getting saddled with the other person’s debt. However, it may still be possible to settle some divorces through negotiation or mediation rather than going to court.

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