Since divorces are “no-fault” in Illinois, a person can end their marriage for any reason they choose. There is no legal obligation for a spouse to justify this decision, as there had been in the past. However, couples may still need to recognize when certain issues or concerns may lead to divorce, including common major life events. When a couple is faced with major changes in their lives, it can be difficult to adapt to this new reality, causing stress on the relationship or exacerbating the problems that were already there, which could lead to divorce.

8 Major Life Events That Can Contribute to Divorce

Excluding any of the typical reasons for a divorce that have more to do with the relationship itself, such as infidelity, here are some common major life events that may lead to divorce:

  1. End of Earlier Parenting Years—A common life change that people do not realize has a major effect on a marriage is that time period when the couple transitions from constant parenting (from babyhood through kindergarten) to less and less parenting (from elementary school through college). As the chaos of a child’s early developmental years subsides, and parental responsibilities become less time-consuming, spouses will have more time to address relationship issues that may have existed prior to the child’s birth, or they may reflect on their relationship in ways they were too busy to do before. If issues that exist in the relationship cannot be resolved, divorce may be necessary.

  2. Becoming Empty-Nesters—As children leave home for good, this could help rekindle the spark in a couple’s relationship, or it could lead to spouses realizing that they are not compatible with each other anymore.

  3. Retirement—While it is nice to think that upon retirement, spouses will be sitting on the beach together, holding hands and sipping cocktails, the truth is that each spouse might have an entirely different vision of retirement. One person might want to relocate, while the other might want to continue working or volunteering. These disagreements can create conflict, which may lead spouses to decide they no longer wish to stay married after retirement.

  4. Unemployment or Other Major Job Changes—If a family experiences a loss of income, due to unemployment, pay reductions, demotions, or any other reasons, the stress of financial difficulties will come to bear, and this is one of the most common factors that can contribute to divorce.

  5. Childbirth—The daily stress of sharing in the care for a new baby can put just about any relationship to the test, especially if the lines of communication are already a bit weak. In some cases, these stresses can lead to the breakdown of a relationship and a subsequent divorce.

  6. Illness or Death in the Family—If one spouse or another family member gets sick with a chronic illness, then the entire dynamic of the relationship can change. One spouse might have more responsibilities than the other during this time, and a sick spouse may become more dependent than he/she ever wanted to be. The stress that an illness can put on a relationship may make divorce unavoidable.

  7. Living Apart for an Extended Period of Time—As is often the case with soldiers who get deployed to war, any couple that needs to be separated for a long time may struggle to maintain their relationship.

  8. Major Trauma—From car accidents to wartime scars, witnessing a violent crime, or experiencing a natural disaster, there are many major traumas that spouses may experience. If one or both spouses have problems coping with the trauma, this can take a toll on their relationship.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyer

Major life events have the potential to incite massive changes in your life and your marriage. If you and your spouse are not prepared or able to adapt to such changes together, you might be thinking about getting a divorce. If that is the case, then reach out to a DuPage County divorce attorney at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation. The compassionate professionals at Andrew Cores Family Law Group will help you understand your options and provide the representation you need throughout the divorce process.


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