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Lack of commitment tops list of common reasons for divorce

The divorce rate has gone down in recent years, but divorce is still a fairly common occurrence in Tennessee and other parts of the country. In order to find out what factors contribute to the end of a marriage most often, researchers interviewed 31 women and 21 men who had divorced several years after participating in a prevention and relationship enhancement program, or PREP, a course that taught couples communication and conflict resolution skills.

Seventy-five percent of people questioned said lack of commitment played a significant role in their decision to opt for divorce. Nearly 60 percent of respondents considered extramarital affairs to be the "final straw" that ended their marriage. Unresolved conflicts and arguing often fueled by communication problems were divorce reasons cited by roughly 57 percent of survey participants. Among those surveyed who considered marrying too young to be a problem, the average age at the time of marriage was around 23.

Approximately 36 percent of participants believed financial problems contributed to their splits. Substance abuse was a divorce factor mentioned by nearly 35 percent of the individuals surveyed. Domestic violence issues reported by 23.7 percent of respondents often included cycles of abuse followed by strong remorse. Religious differences, a lack of family support and health-related problems were additional factors that former couples said contributed to their divorces. Interestingly, some of the respondents who mentioned lack of premarital education as a divorce factor said they wish they had more premarital counseling even though they participated in PREP. One ex-spouse felt the course wasn't realistic about the growth of marriage.

Regardless of the factors that may contribute to a decision to legally untie the knot in Tennessee, a lawyer typically deals with couples experiencing either an uncontested or contested divorce. With an uncontested divorce, parties are more likely to be in agreement. However, it may still be necessary for a family law attorney to work out minor differences, especially if spousal or child support arrangements need to be made. With a divorce that's contested, efforts to achieve a fair settlement may be complicated by serious disagreements over asset division, child custody, debt responsibilities and other issues.

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