Much has been written in California and around the country about the reasons for divorce, and financial troubles and arguments about money are often portrayed as the chief culprits. However, the results of a recent study conducted by a team of Danish researchers suggest that emotional and not financial problems are more likely to prompt spouses to end their marriages. A survey of 2,371 people who had recently been through a divorce revealed that the most common reasons for taking action all stemmed from an absence of emotional fulfillment.

The most frequently-cited motivation for ending a marriage was falling out of love. Almost half of the respondents told the researchers that they decided to seek a divorce after they realized that they no longer had feelings for their husbands or wives. This response was especially common among spouses who had been married for a decade or longer. Communication problems were the second most commonly reason given for ending a marriage with 44% of the people surveyed saying that they no longer talked meaningfully with their spouses.

Losing trust and growing apart were also common reasons given for choosing to divorce. Many of the respondents who cited trust issues as their motivation said that they had lost faith in their husbands or wives after an incident shattered their confidence and they had never been able to regain it. The researchers were surprised to learn that addiction, violence, accidents or illnesses were rarely cited as the motivations for ending a marriage.

Spouses who seek a divorce due to unhappiness often want the process to be over as quickly and painlessly as possible, but the adversarial nature of property division and spousal support negotiations can make this goal difficult to achieve. When an amicable settlement seems unlikely and a bitter court battle looms, experienced family law attorneys may suggest exploring more cooperative approaches such as collaborative divorce or mediation.