What’s Love Got to Do With It? Causes of Divorce in the UK

Couple filing for a divorce

Couples often show warning signs early on in their marriage that indicate an eventual divorce. For emotive reasons, couples become dispassionate and eventually fall out of love with their partners. Sweeping issues under the rug and running away from problems only work for a short period of time. What starts as a manageable disagreement or misunderstanding, if left to fester, can turn to resentment and a deep-seated problem that becomes a struggle to forgive and forget.

However, divorce solicitors in London know that loss of love and affection isn’t the only reason why couples break up. There are other grounds for divorce and here’s a list explaining some of the major causes in the UK.

Lack of preparation

Marriage requires a great deal of thought and preparation. Choosing to live with someone for the rest of your life is a major decision but many couples decide to get married before they are emotionally and financially ready. Some couples marry when they’re still in the ‘honeymoon phase’ and then feel overwhelmed when the sparks are gone and the compromises and responsibilities of living together become the norm. This may lead to frustration and restlessness, which makes people more prone to unreasonable behaviour.


Lack of equality is a contributing factor to marriage splits, especially when a person feels as though they are putting in more effort than the other. For example, some partners feel that they’re the only ones providing finances for the family while others feel they do the majority of domestic chores, managing household expenses and child rearing. Money worries often become a focal point when there’s inequality in the marriage, specifically when one partner is spending excessive amounts or getting the couple into debt.

Unreasonable Behaviour

Unreasonable behaviour is when the husband or wife has acted in such a way that their partner cannot be expected to live with them anymore. These unbearable actions may include physical violence, verbal abuse such as continuous insults and threats, drug and/or alcohol addiction, and refusal to pay for household bills. Unreasonable behaviour is always a viable reason for divorce from a legal point of view because of the emotional and physical damage that it causes the victim. Additionally, those who seek divorce due to physical abuse are often entitled to some form of compensation once they provide adequate evidence that violence occurred.


Woman taking off the ring

The law defines adultery as the spouse having sexual intercourse with members of the opposite sex outside marriage and their partner cannot continue living with them. The ground of adultery excludes kissing, webcam or virtual sex and heavy petting. It is exclusive to sexual intercourse. This is often difficult to prove because in most cases, the spouse who committed adultery will not admit it. Civil partners and same-sex couples are also unable to use adultery as a ground for divorce because as stated by the law, sexual intercourse is impossible between members of the same sex.

Adultery-based divorce cases are quicker to undergo trial if the one who committed adultery is prepared to admit it. As long as the acknowledgement is completed properly, the judge has no choice but to grant the divorce. If ever the spouse does not want to admit their wrongdoing, their partner can file for a divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour, as this does not require proof of a physical act. They may state that their spouse is having an inappropriate relationship with someone else, even without the evidence of sexual intercourse.

Couples decide to get a divorce for a variety of reasons, often related, where loss of love and admiration for each other is a symptom rather than the cause. Marriages fail because of factors not expected in the beginning. As the biggest commitment anyone can make, and long term fulfillment of marriage requires couples to work on their relationship. If this is unsustainable, sometimes a legal way out is the best framework for the emotional decision to part.