Every divorce case in Missouri brings a unique set of issues, circumstances, and personalities. Divorce often involves strongly negative emotions, including anger, sadness, loneliness, and even grief. Some people going through a divorce may finally feel like they have a reason to hope for something better in their lives. Ask a hundred people going through a divorce in Missouri why they are getting divorced, and you will get a hundred different answers with some common threads. For people who believe their marriages are in distress, understanding some of the most common reasons for divorce might help them see their options more clearly. Divorce or legal separation might turn out to be the best way forward for them.
In the past, a person who wanted to get a divorce in Missouri had to prove that the other spouse was at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Missouri has recently become a “no fault” divorce state, meaning that Missouri’s divorce laws are neutral on the question of whether people have valid reasons for divorce. A person seeking a divorce in this state only needs to demonstrate that “the marriage is irretrievably broken,” with no reasonable chance that it can be salvaged. This is usually not hard to do.
Even though Missouri is a no fault state for divorce, knowing the reasons for divorce from the couples actually going through it can be helpful for couples pondering whether divorce is their best option. Court records do not have to show the reasons for a divorce, so we do not have any clear picture of the most common reasons for divorce. Research on why people get divorced must rely on the reasons divorced people give.
Some divorces involve people who probably should not have gotten married in the first place. This could be the result of marrying too young or too early before they had a good understanding of who they are and what they want. It could be that two people got married for reasons other than being in love, and eventually the relationship fell apart. Some people enter marriage with unrealistic expectations or with an idealized image of their spouse that does not match the reality of that person.
As heartbreaking as it can be, people can fall out of love. There are a variety of reasons why this could be the case, including a change in circumstances of one or both spouses’ lives, careers going in different directions, or even developing different interests. One spouse might lose interest in intimacy, which is almost certain to create a rift between them. Or sometimes people just grow apart, and there is no obvious reason for it. “Growing apart” might be one of the top reasons for divorce, if only because it is such a broad category.
When spouses do not or cannot communicate clearly with one another, it is almost inevitable that they will grow apart. The stresses of daily life, which might include jobs, kids, other family, and medical and mental health needs, can leave spouses with little time for each other and a lot of stress to handle. A lack of communication can create distance between spouses, plus the potential for conflict.
Poor communication can easily lead to anger, resentment, and other negative emotions. These can boil over into arguments or even a complete shutdown in communication. This is especially true when each spouse in the partnership handles conflict differently, and when one wants to argue, another may not want to speak at all. The distance created by ongoing arguing or ongoing silence is a common reason for divorce.
Money is, anecdotally speaking, one of the most common reasons that married couples fight. Financial stresses, such as the loss of a job, can cause strains in a marriage. Lack of financial responsibility can also cause marital strife. If one spouse cannot manage money, or routinely spends more than they have, the other spouse is likely to become resentful.
Missouri does not require evidence of fault or misconduct in divorce cases, but domestic abuse would be considered a valid reason for divorce even if it were required. This can involve abuse toward a spouse or other people, such as a child, stepchild, other family member, or even a pet. This could include verbal or physical abuse.
Addiction takes many forms, all of which can cause permanent damage to a marriage. The harm caused by alcohol or drug abuse is well-known. Compulsive gambling, excessive pornography use, and other addictive behaviors can also lead to deception and distrust in a marriage.
Addiction treatment programs have a role for spouses in recovery, but a person must be committed to both their own recovery and saving their marriage. The spouse can only be expected to do so much if the other does not have the same level of commitment.
Most marriages begin with an exchange of vows, including a vow to remain faithful. While extramarital affairs are no longer required as legal grounds for divorce in Missouri, they remain among the biggest reasons for divorce. Infidelity by both husbands and wives can lead to the breakdown of a marriage.
Many marriages survive a spouse’s infidelity, but in order for that to be possible, the spouses must be able to communicate with one another and work forward to rebuild and maintain the relationship.
Kansas City family attorney Mark A. Wortman focuses his practice exclusively on family law matters like divorce and child custody. Please contact us online or at (816) 523-6100 today to schedule a confidential consultation to see how we can help you.