Ellen Says: An annual study in the UK by management consultants Grant Thornton, estimates the main proximal causes of divorce based on surveys of matrimonial lawyers.
The main causes in 2004 were:
Extra-marital affairs - 27%
Emotional/physical abuse - 17%
Mid-life crisis - 13%
Addictions, e.g. alcoholism and gambling - 6%
Workaholism - 6%
According to this survey, men engaged in extra-marital affairs in 75% of cases; women in 25%. In cases of family strain, women's families were the primary source of strain in 78%, compared to 22% of men's families.
Emotional and physical abuse were more evenly split, with women affected in 60% and men in 40% of cases. In 70% of workaholism-related divorces it was men who were the cause, and 30% women.
The 2004 survey found that 93% of divorce cases were petitioned by women, very few of which were contested. 53% of divorces were of marriages that had lasted 10 to 15 years, with 40% ending after 5 to 10 years. The first 5 years are relatively divorce-free, and if a marriage survives more than 20 years it is unlikely to end in divorce.
The age at which a person gets married is also believed to influence the likelihood of divorce; delaying marriage may provide more opportunity or experience in choosing a compatible partner.