There are many stressors and changes that occur throughout life. It’s a natural evolution, and while stressors do not lead to marital problems or divorce, as a rule, they do tend to be present in many cases of divorce. In some instances, stressors that lead to divorce are catastrophic, but in other cases, stressors may seem small or reasonable to an outsider. Many of today’s couples actively seek to protect themselves against divorce by being aware of what situations and life changes are likely to be a precursor to marital strife.
Life Events that Can Lead to Divorce:
Illness: When a spouse develops a severe or chronic health condition, the entire dynamic of a couple’s relationship can change. Illness can create debt and pain and loss of identity. It can drastically alter one partner’s contribution to the partnership, which forces the other partner’s role to change significantly. Some couples manage to cope with the situation, but others find their marriage suffering. Statistically speaking, divorce rates increase 6% when wives have a chronic illness. Divorce rates do not increase when husbands have a chronic disease.
Job Changes: According to a 2011 study by Ohio State University, unemployed men are more likely to leave their wives. Unemployed men are also more likely to be left by their wives. The loss of a job by either partner can be a significant stressor to marriage as many troubles follow naturally: money, security, responsibilities, dissatisfaction, etc. The job loss itself doesn’t cause unhappiness in the marriage, but the change caused to the schedule, finances, etc.
Childbirth: Many are aware that divorce can loom when one spouse wants kids, and the other doesn’t. Not as many are aware that the reality of caring for a baby and raising children can often lead to irreconcilable differences; even when both spouses were on board for having a baby. For example, one study published by the Journal of Family Psychology concluded that 67% of couples experience a drop in marital satisfaction within three years of a baby’s birth.
Long Distance Relationships: A RAND Corporation study of military families conducted in 2013 discovered the risk of divorce among enlisted military members was directly related to the length of their deployment. In addition to long-distance separations, military members’ marriages can face additional stresses associated with readjusting to civilian life after deployments, PTSD, etc. Non-military couples who live apart due to other circumstances don’t face all the same problems as military families. But the separation can still be a significant stressor on the marriage.
Trauma: In some cases, experiencing trauma together can create a stronger bond, but in other cases, shared trauma can result in a need for distance. To heal, they need to let go of the pain and everything associated with the painful experience, and sometimes the spouse is a reminder of the very thing they need to let go.
When the Kids Move Out: Becoming empty nesters can be a stressor leading to divorce. In 2013, the number of divorced people over the age of 50 surpassed the number of widowed people over the age of 50 for the first time. That number continues to grow as seniors continue to lead healthier, longer lives.
Infidelity: Affairs, while definitely on the list of stressors, are not as high on the list as many assume. Affairs can lead some couples to work through underlying relationship issues. As long as both partners are willing to try, a couple can come back after infidelity. No matter what life events you have ahead of you, experts agree being open and honest with your spouse helps you cope together through hard times.
If you see divorce as your best option and need help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of the experienced family law attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm today. We can help you determine your best course and navigate the California divorce process.