Top 10 reasons for divorce in 2021 - most common causes of divorce UK

10 Top reasons for divorce in 2021

Dictionary entry for divorce with two rings

Originally published on 28th September 2018 at 10:20 AM

The blog/latest statistics, using 2019 data, from the Office for National Statistics (2021) show that unreasonable behaviour (one of the grounds you can use to divorce in England and Wales) is still the most common reason for divorce used by couples. 35% of all husbands and 49% of all wives used unreasonable behaviour to divorce in 2019, but what were the top 10 reasons for divorce?

Top 10 Divorce Reasons Used Most Commonly

  1. Falling out of love (no drama – just drifted apart)
  2. Values have changed over time and we no longer agree on important things
  3. Lack of support emotionally through life’s changes
  4. Disrespectful/demeaning behaviour
  5. Lack of sex and emotional connection
  6. Unbalanced roles especially housework and looking after children
  7. Fallouts with family members
  8. Arguing over money
  9. Stressful working hours/feeling second in line to the other person’s career
  10. Having an affair

What are ‘grounds for divorce’?

There are five facts for divorce, often referred to as the grounds for divorce. If you want to get divorced in England and Wales, you need to demonstrate that your marriage has broken down ‘irretrievably’ – this is the grounds for divorce. There are five ‘facts’ or ‘reasons’ to support the grounds for divorce. To get divorced you must select one of the five reasons:

Read our grounds for divorce guide, for more information about the reasons for divorce.

Main reason for divorce:

Whilst no-fault divorce is scheduled to be implemented in April 2022, currently, unreasonable behaviour remains the most prominent reason for divorce. With approximately 42% of all married couples in England and Wales divorcing, if you haven’t been separated for at least two years, or one of you hasn’t been unfaithful, you must then use unreasonable behaviour as your fact to support that your marriage has broken down irretrievably.

It’s important to note, it is possible to remain amicable when using this reason to divorce. Here are amicable’s top tips on remaining amicable if you’re using unreasonable behaviour as your reason for divorce.

1. Remember, it’s a private document

Only you, your ex, the court (and any third party such as amicable, online divorce-diagnostic or lawyers) will see the examples in the document. So, it will never be seen by the public.

2. Write the examples yourself so your ex doesn’t have to or vice versa

To reduce the chances of you rowing, it can work for some couples to write their own examples about themselves so the other person doesn’t have to.

3. Be pragmatic

If you want to get divorced and the other five reasons for divorce aren’t open to you, at this point in time, unreasonable behaviour may be your only option. (unless you’re willing to wait for two years separation or five) Therefore, be pragmatic about the court documents and view them as a means to an end.

4. Focus on the future

If you can be pragmatic and focus on the futures you both want when the divorce is finalised, this can pave the way for an amicable split. This is especially important if you’re transitioning from parents to co-parents.

If you’d like help on writing your unreasonable behaviour examples, get in touch and an amicable Divorce Coach will guide you through the process.



What are the top 3 reasons for divorce?

The three top reasons for divorce are first, unreasonable behaviour, second, two years separation and then third, five year separation (ONS, 2021 .

What are the 5 reasons for divorce?

There are five reasons used in England and Wales to support the fact your marriage has broken down irretrievably: two years separation with consent, five years separation, desertion, adultery, and unreasonable behaviour.

What is the number 1 reason for divorce?

According to (ONS (2021) . , unreasonable behaviour is the most common reason for divorce.

Hannah Hodgkinson
Hannah Hodgkinson
Hannah Hodgkinson is Head of Marketing at amicable. Hannah has over six years experience working for global NGOs and private consultancies and has a passion for marketing for companies with a social purpose


This is a great blog post. It’s so true – there are so many things that go into making a marriage work. Your article is great – and really hits on the foundation and building blocks of a relationship. I really enjoyed reading this post!

posted Family Law at 30.11.2019 11:58