When a couple gets married, they don’t plan on getting a divorce, but many do. While the divorce rate has declined over the last 20+ years, so has the rate of marriage. Perhaps by looking at the most common reasons why marriages end in divorce, couples can avoid making certain mistakes that tend to lead to divorce, or they may gain a better understanding of why their marriage didn’t work out.

Top Reasons For Divorce in California

Lack of Commitment

The most common reason for divorce is a lack of commitment. 75% of both couples and individuals cite this as the reason they got divorced, even more so than infidelity, which is the second leading cause of divorce. Incompatibility, getting married too young, and money problems finish the top five reasons that marriages end in divorce. In addition to these, which often overlap, most couples say it was a single “final straw” event that pushed them to the point of divorce.


One of the most common arguing points among couples is money. It is difficult to keep the peace in a marriage when you and your spouse don’t agree on or have different perspectives regarding spending, saving, and other financial areas. Many couples cite finances as being a high influencer of divorce, thus, the likelihood of divorce is higher in low-income marriages. However, if marital assets grow from either work wages or investment dividends, the risk of divorce drops until it bottoms out in households with a combined income of around $200,000. This may also be why one-income couples tend to have a higher chance of divorcing than when both spouses work. It’s not surprising, then, that divorce rates are higher in couples who live below the poverty line.

Other Reasons Couples Divorce

The reasons above are rather vague, and there are many more specific catalysts that can lead a couple to divorce. Below are some common underlying causes of divorce.

  • Nothing in Common – If a couple can’t enjoy doing things together, they will have little opportunity to form a friendship, and communication will be difficult.
  • Lack of Shared Values – Differing values, politics, religion, parenting styles, or other fundamental personality factors can cause conflict, distance, and lack of stimulation, which often leads to disconnection and, ultimately, divorce.
  • Lack of Communication – Communication is one of the basic aspects of a long and happy marriage. Without it, problems don’t get resolved, needs don’t get met, and lasting bonds can’t form. Sometimes, a lack of communication can mean there are deeper problems in the relationship.
  • Perpetual Arguments – When couples argue constantly, it’s often about the same things over and over, and nothing is ever resolved. Constant conflict within a marriage can be the result of underlying issues.
  • Infidelity – When a spouse has an affair, it is oftentimes too hard for their partner to get over the betrayal. Without a willingness to work on repairing the marriage, there is little reason to stay married.
  • Getting Married for the Wrong Reasons – People sometimes get married because they feel pressured, for financial reasons, or for other reasons that aren’t the right reasons. They end up getting into something they just weren’t prepared for, setting themselves up for failure.
  • Domestic Abuse – Many marriages involve one or more of many forms of domestic abuse, whether physical or verbal. Too many times, the abusive partner isn’t just abusive toward their spouse. If there are children in the home, they too are victims of domestic violence. The abused spouse is usually the one who seeks divorce and sometimes needs help getting away from their abuser.
  • Addiction – When an addiction comes between a marriage, there is little reason to remain if the addicted spouse isn’t willing to get treatment. Some common addictions include the following:
    • Alcohol
    • Sex
    • Drugs
    • Gambling
    • Prescription medication
    • Shopping
  • Lack of Intimacy – A lack of intimacy in a marriage could mean that there’s another problem that is the root cause of the intimate disconnection. It is an important component of a healthy marriage that reaches beyond the bedroom. Trust, respect, and emotional connection are just the beginning of the basic human needs and emotional bonds that, for some, only physical closeness can fulfill. Without these things, marriage can feel lonely, which can lead to feelings of resentment.
  • Irreconcilable Differences – This general blanket term covers everything else and just means that the marriage is not going to work out. This reason is often cited in legal documents related to divorce proceedings to explain that the marriage is unsalvageable at this point.


Q: What Is the #1 Cause of Divorce?

A: A lack of commitment is cited most by couples as to why they made the decision to get divorced. This is very closely related to infidelity, which is the second most common reason couples get divorced. Citing a lack of commitment can cover a variety of more specific reasons and represents a more general issue that could be interpreted in multiple ways.

Q: What Are the Divorce Trends in California?

A: In 2021, the divorce rate in California was 6%, which is one percent less than the national average. U.S. divorce trends, in general, have gone down over the past 10 years, though it should be noted that the number of marriages has also decreased. This makes it difficult to say whether there are fewer divorces or just fewer marriages.

Q: What Are the Reasons for Divorce in California?

A: The reasons people get divorced in California encompass a wide spectrum of motivations. Divorces are attributed to both single-incident events as well as a gradual change or loss of feelings over time. The main reasons often involve:

  • A lack of commitment
  • Infidelity
  • Money
  • Getting married too young
  • An overall incompatibility between marital partners

Q: What Are the Grounds for Divorce in California?

A: California family law does not require a married couple to establish grounds for divorce when filing for divorce. California is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that neither party needs to have a specific reason for wanting a divorce. They only need to file papers with the court to get the process started, with no need to prove that either party engaged in any wrongdoing to warrant the request for divorce.

Contact The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC

If you and your spouse have come to a place in your marriage where there’s nothing you can foreseeably do to resolve the problems within your relationship, contact The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC, a certified family law firm to learn about our legal services. Our goal-oriented approach can solve problems both in and out of court.