Cheating, lack of commitment among common reasons for divorce

Divorce rates are generally going down. Even so, it's still fairly common for couples in Michigan and other states to untie the knot. In order to get a better idea of why marriages sometimes fail, a study was conducted with divorced individuals who initially participated in a prevention and relationship enhancement program (PREP) before they were wed. The divorced participants were interviewed several years later to find out the reasons why their relationships soured.

Little or no premarital education and religious differences was cited as a reason for divorce among just over 13 percent of the divorced participants. One subject noted that while the PREP course was helpful with communication techniques, it didn't address issues related to the growth of a marriage. Just under 20 percent of participants questions felt that a lack of family support and health-related problems contributed to their marital problems. Interestingly, a separate study found that divorce risk is lower when husbands have a closer relationship with their wife's family and higher when it's the other way around.

Of the nearly 24 percent of the study participants questioned who cited physical and emotional abuse as a contributing factor for their divorce, many respondents said such issues developed over time. Approximately 35 percent of surveyed individuals said either substance abuse or financial problems strained their relationships. Top problems mentioned also included getting married too young, communication issues that contributed to arguing and fighting, and infidelity or extramarital affairs. Topping the list, however, was a lack of commitment, which was given as a reason for the end of a marriage by 75 percent of the individuals surveyed.

If marital issues can't be worked out among couples, an attorney may recommend divorce mediation if both parties are still able to remain fairly civil and reasonable with one another. With marriages that end after many years or later in life, a lawyer may be able to help with asset division. This process might involve consulting with financial advisers and other professionals to help a divorcing spouse properly identify and evaluate all joint assets and take steps to minimize financial losses.

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