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Study examines factors that lead to divorce

Infidelity, financial issues and getting married too young might all be reasons that couples in New Jersey get divorced, but one study found that three-fourths of participants said a lack of commitment was a factor. Infidelity was in second place, but it was also the issue that most respondents cited as the last straw in their marriages.

The respondents had all been participants 14 years earlier in a premarital counseling program, but they had since divorced. The 52 respondents were asked to identify factors that led to divorce as well as whether one single last straw caused the end of the marriage or if the divorce was due to a combination of reasons.

More than half of the couples said there was too much conflict in their marriage, and 45 percent said they had been too young when they married. Around a third cited financial problems as an issue, and approximately the same percentage said substance abuse contributed to their divorce. Almost a quarter of the individuals said domestic violence was a factor. Health problems caused 18 percent of the couples to divorce. Others said a lack of family support, religious differences and too little premarital education, despite their participation in the counseling program, all contributed to their eventual divorces.

A couple who have divorced because of religious differences and also have children might need to resolve those conflicts to some extent if they are going to share legal custody. It is often shared even if only one parent has physical custody, and it addresses parents' rights to make decisions about their children's religion, medical care and other major issues. Other factors in the divorce could also affect divorce negotiations. For example, if financial problems have contributed to the divorce, the couple may need to decide how they will pay off shared debt.

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