What Are the Leading Causes Of Divorce In The United States?

Updated August 16, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

Those who get married usually expect their love to last a lifetime. However, this isn’t always the case, and many spouses end up divorced from the person they thought they’d be with forever. There are many different causes of divorce in the United States, but you might be wondering which are the most common. Perhaps you’re preparing for marriage yourself or are going through challenges in your relationship. Being aware of what has torn other couples apart may help you avoid running into the same problems in your own life. Read on to get information about the leading causes of divorce in the United States.

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The most prevalent cause of divorce listed in the United States is basic incompatibility. A recent survey of CDFA professionals showed that as much as 43% of people list “basic incompatibility” as the cause of their divorce. This is a very broad cause that could encompass many different marital problems. For example, a couple could list this as the reason for their divorce due to arguing all the time or deciding that they want different things in life. A married couple could discover that they have incompatible sex drives. A wife might find out that she wants to pursue a career while her spouse really wants to have children. Many potential problems can occur when two people get married without really thinking things through. 

Sometimes people get married too soon, and they wind up discovering that they aren’t as compatible as they originally assumed. This can lead to many marital issues, and it can eventually wind up causing two people to grow apart completely. Incompatibility is such a broad topic that it can encompass many different marital problems. Therefore, it may make sense that this is the number one reason for divorce in America.

Some people have been able to overcome compatibility issues to save their marriage. How willing a couple is to work through the problems in their marriage may predict how successful they are in moving forward and staying committed to one another. Some marriages fall by the wayside faster than others due to both parties’ willingness to move on. Other married couples might cling to the marriage due to personal ideals or even true love. If you’re going through marriage problems, it isn’t impossible to overcome issues that seem to make you incompatible.


Infidelity is another very common reason for a marriage going south and one of the leading causes of divorce. When one partner cheats on the other, it can be very difficult to figure out how to move forward. For many people, the act of cheating is seen as something unforgivable. Depending on your thoughts, you might not even consider trying to save the marriage if your partner cheats on you. There are situations where people have been able to overcome infidelity issues, though. Sometimes the cheating occurs due to inherent problems with the marriage. While there isn’t an excuse for cheating, some couples have been able to fix the issues that led to the infidelity.

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when someone has cheated on you is learning to trust them again. The act of cheating can destroy the years of trust that were built up and getting that back may not be easy. It can take time, counseling, and forgiveness. Some spouses are willing to work through infidelity, while others are not. 


Money Issues

Money can become a real problem for certain couples, even leading to the eventual breakup of a marriage. Money issues are among the leading causes of divorce in the United States, where many people struggle to make ends meet. Even people who really love each other sometimes wind up having marital problems due to financial concerns. Financial problems can strain a marriage and leave couples overwhelmed. When spouses are so focused on making ends meet, it can be difficult to find time for their marriage. This can cause it to get put on the backburner and contribute to dissatisfaction from one or both sides. 

Having money issues isn’t something that a couple cannot overcome, though. It is possible to work together to figure out a budget or financial path that works for the couple. This could be too much for some marriages to overcome, but others move past these problems with time and effort. 

Emotional Or Physical Abuse

Marriages also sometimes dissolve due to one partner being abusive toward the other. There are several different types of abuse, and none of them are excusable. If you are in an abusive marriage, know that there are resources you can take advantage of. Whether you’re physically or emotionally abused, this type of behavior is not loving and is never okay. Sometimes spouses feel trapped in abusive marriages, and they feel afraid to leave, but you can move on with the help of people who care about your well-being.

Abuse is something that many people deal with in silence. Finding the strength to divorce your abuser can be very difficult. However, it can be important to prioritize your safety, happiness, and well-being. Many people have moved past abuse to find brighter days ahead. 

Parenting-Related Problems

Some marriages in America sometimes come to a halt due to parenting-related issues. Sometimes two people cannot agree on how to raise a child. Having children can be challenging for many reasons. When there are issues with parenting, it can cause conflict with one’s spouse. Some people even discover that they don’t like being a parent or no longer have an interest in it. Parenting might not come naturally to you, or you might feel that your partner is not a good parent in certain ways. Eventually, issues like this can start to form cracks in the foundation of a marriage, leading to divorce.

Parenting-related problems aren’t the most common reason people get divorced, but they can certainly contribute. If you are going through parenting-related issues right now, it might benefit you to look into counseling. Some couples need to learn how to work together as a parental unit, and certain professionals may be able to offer support. 

Alcohol Or Substance Misuse

One final problem that is among the leading causes of divorce in America is substance misuse. This can also encompass alcohol misuse. People who become addicted to drugs, alcohol, or other substances often don’t think about the consequences of their actions. They may become so consumed with their addiction that they have no time or effort to devote to their marriage. 

Some marriages can overcome substance misuse issues, but getting professional help is often highly recommended. The spouse with the addiction normally needs some type of mental health intervention, medication, or both, to heal and move forward. Remember to always consult a doctor before starting a new medication.

It can be tough to watch someone that you love fall into an addiction, but it is possible for them to overcome it. Many people have gotten help and subsequently saved their marriage in the process. If you and your partner want to move forward together, then you can attack this problem as a unit. Being a supportive spouse may mean encouraging your partner to get help and doing your part to show love while also holding them accountable. 

Marriages Can Run Into Hurdles - Learn The Tools To Overcome Them

Online Counseling With Regain

If you are going through complications with your spouse and haven’t had any luck at attempts to repair your marriage, it could be time to speak with a professional. Regain is a virtual platform that offers counseling for both individuals and couples alike. You can connect with a licensed marriage therapist right from your home at a time that works for you and your spouse. Online counseling removes many of the common barriers present for married couples who desire to find support through couples counseling. Those who want to improve their relationship can count on licensed counselors to work with them toward a healthier, happier marriage. 

The Efficacy Of Online Counseling 

Online couples counseling could benefit spouses who are navigating hurdles in their marriage. One study explored the efficacy of couples therapy delivered via videoconferencing. Researchers found that it was “a viable alternative to face-to-face interventions, especially for those couples who may not have entry to the treatment they require.” Cost, transportation, and time are common barriers married couples face when seeking treatment. Couples participating in the study reported feeling close to and trusting their therapist, and these feelings increased over time. Further, the results of the study showed “improvements in relationship satisfaction, mental health, and all other outcome scores over time.”

The Takeaway

Most people who get married never plan to divorce the person they thought they’d be spending the rest of their lives with. Still, divorce is a common reality in the United States. There are varying reasons a couple may choose to split up, and while many of these issues can be worked through, not every relationship is meant to last forever. Still, married couples who are dedicated to one another and want to make their marriage last could benefit from and find hope in couples counseling. Regain can provide a licensed marriage therapist to help spouses work through the obstacles they’re facing and find ways to restore trust, commitment, and love in their marriage. 

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