As a family lawyer I am often asked about the most common reasons for marital breakdown and as a factor of that whether it might be possible to make a marriage ‘divorce proof’.
Divorce rates are high in England and Wales. The effect of a divorce can devastate a family, (particularly when it is handled in the wrong way). So it leads us to question what the pitfalls might be and what could be done to achieve a long lasting and happy marriage. As a solicitor practising in this area for over 10 years I have my insights and perspectives, which might be different to specialists such as marriage guidance counsellors, but here are some of the most frequently arising issues that I have encountered:
Not spending time together
Where one partner is consumed by something which takes them away from the family unit this can be detrimental. This could be anything from their career to a hobby to their own social circle outside of the marriage. Whilst it’s great to have other interests, it can be hard on a husband or wife if they are left at home on their own for much of the time, particularly if they have young children and are quite literally left ‘holding the baby’.
Spending too much time together
There does of course need to be a balance and the flip side of not spending time together is not giving each other the space to have some time to themselves. For some people this can prove to be a problem and cracks in a relationship can begin to show under this pressure. It is widely publicised that divorce rates spike after the summer holidays and after Christmas, times which are typically dedicated to spending time exclusively with family.
Lack of respect, consideration or understanding
It is easy to slip into complacency and to perhaps take someone for granted. This is a common problem in long marriages and can lead to complaints about spouses ranging from ‘they don’t do anything around the house’ to ‘they don’t appreciate me’. Show them you care…
Lack of communication
Communication is key. If there is a problem or your partner has said or done something to upset you, tell them about it. We can’t expect others to read our minds and not telling someone may lead to the problem festering, so that years later it ends up being cited on a divorce petition.
Beware of social media
In recent years, social media has become an increasingly cited factor in marital breakdown. It may be a spouse spending too much time on social media, meeting other people on social media or being caught out on social media, or in some cases all three.
Either way, it is not to be ignored!
These sorts of issues frequently feature in divorce petitions citing unreasonable behaviour. The test