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Study finds infidelity, substance abuse among divorce factors

A lack of family support, differences over religion and infidelity are all factors that may lead to North Carolina couples ending their marriages. However, commitment was most frequently named as the factor that contributed to divorce in a survey of 52 people.

The study, which was conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, surveyed people who had participated in a premarital counseling program. The survey took place 14 years after the program among people who had divorced and asked them what factors contributed to the divorce as well as whether there was a last straw. For example, around one-third of people said substance abuse was a factor in their divorce, but for 12 percent, it was the final straw. Infidelity was commonly named as the final straw.

Too much conflict was reported as a factor by nearly 60 percent of participants while 45 percent said they had been too young when they married. Financial problems were one part of what led to divorce for one-third of respondents, and in 23 percent of divorces, domestic violence played a part. Almost 20 percent of the respondents said health problems were a factor, and too little family support was an issue in 17 percent of divorces. Not sharing the same religion and a need for more premarital counseling were a factor in some divorces.

Once a couple has made the decision to divorce, they may then have to agree on how to divide property and make a plan for child custody. This can be challenging, but couples might be able to resolve their differences through mediation or using collaborative divorce instead of going to litigation. Parents who have experienced domestic violence may have to go to court if they are worried about the safety of their children with the other parent.