For most couples, deciding to pursue a separation or divorce isn’t a decision made on a whim. Very often, there will have been a number of warning signs that the relationship isn’t working, and consideration given to whether the problems and concerns can be worked through and resolved. Or not.

But what are the things that cause a relationship to irretrievably break down? Here we’re exploring three of the most common reasons behind why couples get divorced, and why it can help to seek legal advice. 

Money worries

Financial pressure is one of the biggest tension points within a marriage or relationship. And it’s hardly surprising that this is becoming even more of a problem in light of the cost of living crisis. If you’re worried about making ends meet, working extra hours to pay the bills, or struggling to find employment, it can be difficult to make time for one another and enjoy each other’s company.

Money worries can go further than this, with a growing number of couples dealing with  financial infidelity. This can take many forms, for example, addiction, hidden debt, excessive spending and dishonesty about earnings – you can read more about it here. Financial infidelity can be extremely destructive, eroding trust between you and your spouse or partner.

Beyond worrying about financially staying afloat, some couples have very different ideas when it comes to how money is spent. If you’re someone who likes to plan for the future and build a secure savings pot, but your spouse prefers to live in the moment and spend freely, it can be difficult to meet in the middle.

Unhappiness and growing apart

In some circumstances, couples simply grow apart. Whilst it might sound like a cliche, maintaining a healthy and successful marriage isn’t always easy. Between careers, raising children, running a home and just changing as a person, some couples grow apart rather than together. This can result in you finding less and less that you have in common with your partner, and feeling unhappy and unfulfilled as a result.

In some situations marriage counselling can be helpful, but in others there’s no way back, and as such a separation or divorce becomes a likely outcome.


Domestic abuse, whether it be physical or emotional, shouldn’t be a feature of any relationship. It can happen to anyone at any time, and is incredibly damaging to a person’s self esteem, confidence and physical and mental wellbeing.

There are many different forms of abuse that can take place within a relationship, including:

Taking steps to leave an abusive relationship can feel overwhelming, but it’s important to know that there is support available – we’ve provided some helpful support resources at the end of this blog. If you’d like some advice about your options when it comes to a separation or divorce from an abusive spouse or partner, Harrogate Family Law is here to help.

Whatever the reason for your relationship breakdown, the important thing is to make the right decision for you. Seeking legal advice can often provide the clarity you need to look to the future, and give you some idea about what you can expect if you decide that divorce is the right path for you. If you’d like to book a consultation with a member of our friendly team, don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Here in Harrogate, IDAS is here for anybody who needs help coping with, and recovering from, domestic abuse. You can contact their helpline on 03000 110 110.

Other resources include:

Refuge 24 hour National Domestic Abuse hotline: 0808 2000 247

Women’s Aid Survivors’ forum and live chat:

Men’s Advice line: 0808 8010 327

Galop National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline:  0800 999 5428