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

Updated November 8, 2022 by ReGain Editorial Team

Sometimes love doesn’t last forever. People often get divorced for several different reasons. A couple might fall out of love, or they might wind up having irreconcilable differences. There are many different causes of divorce in the United States, but you might be wondering which causes are the most common. Read on to get information about the leading causes of divorce in the US.


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It might come as a surprise, but the most prevalent cause of divorce listed in the United States is actually 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. It could also be listed as to why a couple decides that they want different things in life.

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 common marital problems, so it makes sense that this would be the number one reason for divorce in America.

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 husband really wants to have children. Many potential problems can occur when two people get married without really thinking things through. Some people have been able to overcome compatibility issues to save their marriage.

It really just depends on how committed the two people in the marriage area. Some marriages will 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. Just know that if you’re going through marriage problems, it isn’t completely impossible to overcome issues that make you incompatible.


Infidelity is another very common reason for a marriage going south. This is one leading cause 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 spouse 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. There is no good excuse for cheating on your spouse, but some couples have been able to fix the issues that lead to the cheating episode.

Another thing to keep in mind is that professional marriage counselors can work with couples dealing with infidelity issues. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when someone has cheated on you is learning to trust them again. The act of cheating destroyed the years of trust that you built up, and getting that back isn’t going to be simple. It takes time, and having the process guided by a marriage counselor is a very good idea.

Money Issues

Perhaps the saddest reason why a marriage could fail is due to money issues. Money can become a real problem for certain couples. 

All of these issues can lead to the eventual breakup of a marriage. Money issues are among the leading causes of divorce in the United States, and many people struggle to make ends meet. Even people who really love each other sometimes wind up having marital problems due to financial concerns.

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 will work for your situation in many cases. This could be too much for some marriages to overcome, but others will move past these issues.

Emotional or Physical Abuse

Marriages also sometimes dissolve due to one spouse being abusive toward the other. There are several different types of abuse, and it is not okay for anyone to abuse another person. If you are in an abusive marriage, then you should know that there are resources that you can take advantage of. Whether you’re physically abused or if you’re emotionally abused, it is not 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 finally can be very difficult at first. Please understand that life can go on from here and that many people have moved past abuse to find brighter days. 

Parenting-Related Problems

It’s also true that marriages in America sometimes come to a halt due to parenting-related issues. Sometimes two people will not be able to agree on how to raise a child. Having children isn’t always going to be smooth sailing. You might find that parenting will be tumultuous at times, which may even put you into conflict with your spouse.

Some people even discover that they don’t like being a parent. This is very unfortunate as you want to love your children and give them the best upbringing possible. Parenting might not come naturally to you, or you might feel that your spouse 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 in getting into counseling. Some couples need to learn how to work together as a parental unit, and some professionals can help you out with that. You can also learn to work on anger issues if you’re having problems keeping your cool when your children throw tantrums.

Alcohol or Substance Abuse

One final problem that is among the leading causes of divorce in America is substance abuse. This can also encompass alcohol abuse. People who become alcoholics or drug addicts don’t often think about the consequences of their actions.

Some marriages can overcome substance abuse issues, but getting professional help is highly recommended. The person with the drug or alcohol problem needs to get the right help to move forward. It can be very tough to watch someone that you love fall into these habits, but it doesn’t have to be the end for them.

Many addicts have been able to get help, and they have been able to save their marriages in the process. Whether or not your marriage can be saved is up to you to decide. If you and your spouse want to move forward together, then you can attack this problem as a unit. Just remember to do so with the help of a skilled addiction therapist to get the best results.

Remember That Couples Counseling is an Option

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

If you are going through complications with your spouse, then remember that it might be possible to fix things. Depending on what types of issues you’re facing, you might find that couples counseling will be able to help you out significantly. Online couples counseling is a very convenient way to get help for problems that might be causing your marriage to fail. You’ll be able to work on issues that are holding you back while learning to love one another again.

Those who aren’t ready to give up can count on licensed counselors to work with them. It might take time to address the issues that your relationship is facing completely. Still, you’ll be able to do so in a safe environment while feeling confident that you’re working with professionals who care about your well-being. Please reach out today if you need help with saving your marriage.

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