New Expert Survey Reveals The #1 Reason Couples Divorce

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New Expert Survey Reveals The #1 Reason Couples Divorce
Plus: prenup myths, how to divorce-proof a marriage & more!

New York, NY (October 15, 2012): A survey of counseling professionals from YourTango.com—the digital leader in love and relationships—offers compelling insights into why marriages fail. The leading cause of divorce? Communication problems, followed by sexual infidelity and "not spending enough time together/not mutually prioritizing the marriage."

Unfortunately, 54% of experts polled agree with the assertion made by author Dana Adam Shapiro that only 17% of marriages are happy. However, YourTango Expert Meri Arnett-Kremian is skeptical, explaining "I'm suspicious of the bias of his interviewees since they were talking about the breakup of their marriages—which presumptively were unhappy or they'd still be together. How are we definining happy?"

Experts also had bad news for divorcées: 58% agree that a divorcee's chances of getting divorced are higher than someone who has never been married.

Another indication a marriage will fail? Cold feet. Consistent with the results of a recent UCLA study, a whopping 80% say that a bride's pre-wedding doubts are a harbinger of divorce, about which YourTango Expert Dr. Susan Heitler explains, "Not all doubts prove predictive, but often something that looks problematic at the outset gets worse over time." Meanwhile, perhaps suprisingly, 86% of experts agree prenups have no predictable impact on a couple’s likelihood to divorce.

Less surprisingly, 74% of experts polled agree that the number one predictor of divorce is differing values around kids, money and/or sex. Also, when asked whether divorce is harder on men or women, 65% of experts agree that "divorce is equally hard on everyone." However, YourTango Expert Nina Atwood disagrees. She thinks divorce is more difficult for women because "Typically, women do not do as well financially post-divorce, so they have financial struggles on top of the emotional ones."

A common dilemma for divorcing couples is whether to opt for litigation or mediation. According to the experts, the choice is clear. Seventy percent say opting for divorce mediation instead of divorce litigation ensures a smoother end to the marriage, and 65% agree that opting for divorce mediation instead of divorce litigation ensures a more equitable/fair result.

Frequently, divorcing parents wonder how long to wait before starting to date again. Fortunately for them, there is no right or wrong answer. Rather, a plurality of experts (37%) say that there's no time requirement; as soon as they'd like is just fine.

Another dilemma for divorcing parents is how much they should share with their kids about their divorce. About that, the majority of experts polled (51%) said "any details that the kids can developmentally understand and integrate" — no more and no less. Similarly, 70% of experts polled agree that divorcing parents should not ask their kids which parent they want to live with after the marriage ends because "the decision isn't the kids' to make and/or it's unfair to ask the kids to choose." Continue reading.

Want to learn more? Check out Divorce Survival Guide!

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