What is the Leading Cause of Divorce in America?

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by | Mar 22, 2024

There are many different causes of divorce in the United States. Statistics show the most common cause of divorce in America is fundamental incompatibility.


Incompatibility is the number one cause of divorce because it can take the form of many different marital problems. Incompatibility between partners occurs when their goals, values, and dynamics clash, there is a lack of shared interests and desires, and they can’t coexist harmoniously. This leads to friction and misunderstandings in the marriage and can create resentment, anger, frustration, loneliness, and isolation. Often, basic incompatibility is created by deeper relationship issues like a physical, emotional, or financial breach of trust.

Emotional Incompatibility

Emotional incompatibility occurs when spouses have different emotional wants and needs. When spouses are emotionally incompatible, they aren’t attuned to each other’s feelings, and deeper levels of closeness, trust, and intimacy aren’t created.

Sometimes, levels of emotional intimacy need to be matched. When one spouse remains emotionally distant while the other wants a deeper emotional connection, a noticeable imbalance arises that can lead to feelings of loneliness and disconnection, which further contributes to emotional incompatibility.

Physical Incompatibility

Physical or sexual incompatibility occurs when a spouse is no longer physically attracted to their partner or has differences in sexual needs, preferences, and desires and can be a big source of marital conflict. When partners have libidos or sex drives that don’t align or different preferences or viewpoints on sexual activities, they can experience frustration and resentment. In some cases, sexual incompatibility or physical incompatibility can be a precursor to other marital issues.

Parenting Problems

Having children can be challenging, and parenting-related problems can cause conflict with one’s spouse. Sometimes, two people disagree on how to raise their children. Some couples may struggle to work together as a parental unit. Some people may feel like their partner isn’t a good parent in particular ways, and some may even realize they don’t like or are interested in being a parent.

Communication Problems

A lack of communication can contribute to divorce. Unable to communicate effectively with your partner leads to frustration, resentment, isolation, and loneliness.

Good, healthy communication allows couples to express thoughts and feelings comfortably. Poor, unhealthy communication can lead married couples to become disconnected from each other and have difficulties solving conflicts. Poor communication includes:

  • Talking to each other less throughout the day.
  • Yelling at your spouse.
  • Expressing yourself with nasty comments.


Having the same religion isn’t always necessary for married partners, but it makes it more likely their other values are aligned, and they agree on other things like religious observations and how their children are raised. Conflict can arise when couples don’t share a religion or aren’t clear about their religious views before marriage.

Opposing Values or Morals

When spouses have opposing values or morals, neither is able or willing to see things from their spouse’s perspective. These differences can begin creating conflict and tearing a couple apart. In many cases, these differences eventually make it difficult, if not impossible, to maintain a healthy, happy marriage.


Abuse occurs in several different forms, and none are excusable. Any type of abusive behavior is never okay and isn’t a sign of love. Many people deal with abuse alone and in silence and might feel trapped or scared to leave.

It can be difficult to find the strength to leave and divorce your abuser; however, it’s important to put your safety, well-being, and happiness first. With the help of people who care about your well-being, you can find the strength to move on.

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse or violence is a pattern of behavior used to gain or maintain control and power over an intimate partner in a relationship. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone of any age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion and affects people of all education levels and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Domestic abuse can be physical, mental, sexual, emotional, economic, technological, and psychological actions, threats, or coercive actions or behaviors that manipulate, frighten, hurt, intimidate, blame, humiliate, injure, terrorize, wound, or isolate someone in an intimate relationship.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is commonly found in relationships, particularly ones with existing domestic violence. In marriages and romantic relationships, emotional abuse typically includes any nonphysical behaviors like intimidation, insults, monitoring, unwarranted jealousy, dismissiveness, humiliation tactics, and threats used to frighten, control, isolate, or coerce the victim or make them uncomfortable.

Alcohol or Substance Abuse

People with addictions to drugs, alcohol, or other substances can become so consumed with their addictions they no longer devote any time or effort to their marriage. Often, they don’t realize there are consequences to their actions.

Sometimes, the spouse with the addiction refuses to recognize or admit there’s a problem even when the other spouse is supportive and willing to help their partner get professional help. This can add further conflict to an already strained marriage.


Infidelity is a common reason for marriages to break up, and not all couples look at it the same way. Some people view infidelity as unforgivable, while others may have a more permissive or “open” view on extramarital affairs.

Infidelity occurs when one partner goes outside of the relationship to get emotional, physical, and sexual needs met. These extramarital affairs often have an underlying reason and can cause broken trust, hurt feelings, and distance between spouses.

Financial Issues

Money issues create conflict, strain a marriage, and overwhelm some couples. When spouses become more focused on making ends meet, they struggle to find time for their spouses, leading to dissatisfaction and more conflict.

Financial issues can also arise from budget disagreements, how finances should be handled, different spending habits, and how much money each spouse brings in.


One of the worst money problems is gambling. A spouse’s gambling addiction can add financial and emotional stress to a marriage, destroy trust, and threaten the financial, physical, and emotional well-being of their family. A spouse who has a gambling addiction might choose to gamble over their family, and their behavior can create more marital stress and conflict.

Getting Divorced in America

Even for a no-fault divorce, divorce in the United States, especially with minor children, is often complicated. No matter the reason for your divorce, each spouse should hire a skilled divorce lawyer. An experienced family law attorney will work toward a fair divorce settlement while protecting your rights.

Texas Divorce Attorneys

The North and West Texas divorce lawyers at Jimenez Law Firm, P.C. have a wealth of experience handling a wide range of family law matters and are dedicated to helping families and individuals navigate the emotionally challenging times of divorce. Our skilled attorneys will determine a strategy based on your goals and help you every step of the way.

Whether the reason for your divorce is fundamental incompatibility or another common cause of divorce in America, our family law attorneys are committed to providing our clients with compassionate support during this stressful process.

Call the Jimenez Law Firm today at 800-219-3779 or contact our divorce attorneys online for a consultation regarding your divorce or family law case.