A study that was published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy suggests that views of marriage and the reasons people file for divorce are shifting. While in the past divorces were often prompted by such behavior as violence or infidelity, the study indicated that more people are leaving marriages because they do not feel emotionally fulfilled. This also could indicate a fundamental change in how marriage is viewed to one in which intimacy, communication and respect are crucial.
The biggest reason for divorce, cited by 47% of the participants, was a lack of love or intimacy. People left partners when they realized one or both of them no longer had feelings for the other. Just behind this reason was a lack of communication at 44%. In third place were couples who had grappled with a lack of trust or respect for one another. Another reason for divorce was simply that the couple had grown apart and no longer wanted the same things in life.
The average age of the 2,371 study participants was 45. Only 16% said their divorce had been a mutual decision compared to 44% who initiated it and 40% whose partners did. More than one-quarter of participants said there was a great deal of conflict in their divorce, but 40% said there was little or no conflict.
In a lower-conflict divorce, couples might be able to reach an agreement on property division and child custody through negotiation. This can cost less than going to litigation and gives them more control over the outcome. However, if there is a great deal of conflict and one or both people simply will not cooperate, it might be necessary to proceed to litigation. People going to court may want to talk to an attorney about strategies for getting the outcome they want.