Factors That Increase the Risk of Divorce

September 30, 2021 | J. Benjamin Stevens | Share:

While no two couples deal with stress in the same way, researchers have found that certain broad categories of life events have been shown to increase the likelihood of divorce. The hope is that by recognizing these contributing factors couples can acknowledge the difficulty surrounding them and take action to protect their relationship. So, what are the factors that increase the risk of divorce?

Illness & Pandemics

Studies have shown time and again that illness of one spouse is a crucial factor in determining a couple’s risk of divorce. The toll that an illness takes on a relationship is tremendous. The sick spouse is no longer able to shoulder his or her share of the burden of the relationship, isolating the ill partner. At the same time, the healthy spouse can begin to feel overwhelmed or resentful due to the new burdens placed on his or her shoulders. This becomes doubly stressful when it is the woman who is ill, forcing men into the role as caretaker, something many may not be appropriately prepared to handle for the long-term.

In 2020, we learned that global pandemics and the enormous stress they place on individuals, businesses, and societies, are a factor that will put relationships to the ultimate test. When the COVID-19 pandemic first shut down the world, many law firms that practice exclusively family law anticipated a reduction of cases, but just the opposite happened. Family law cases have significantly increased across the board. Divorce consultations have also increased, with pandemic-related disagreements as a major catalyst for people scheduling them.


The loss of a stable paycheck can lead to money problems, financial insecurity, and feelings of inadequacy, as well as potentially destabilizing the internal dynamics of a marriage, especially if the unemployed partner was used to being the primary breadwinner. In fact, research reveals that when a man loses his job, the risk of divorce increases for two reasons: (1) men who are unemployed are more likely to be left by a partner, and (2) men who are unemployed are more likely to leave their partner.

Time alone

A recent study of military families found that a couple’s risk of divorce was directly related to the length of deployment. Time apart due to job relocations or family illness can also make it hard for couples to maintain the same level of intimacy. Developing new routines, making new friends, and finding new sources of comfort apart from your spouse can certainly increase your risk of divorce.

Empty nest

Increasingly scientists are proving what most people have long understood: couples who spent years raising children in noisy, busy homes experience a kind of shock when the house suddenly goes quiet. Couples who may never have had to spend much time alone together now have no buffer, and problems that may have been easy to ignore in the past are suddenly thrust to the surface. Data recently revealed that in 2013, for the first time ever, more adults over 50 were divorced than were widowed.


Ben Stevens has provided exceptional legal counsel and support to families throughout South Carolina for over twenty-five years, handling all matters of family law, including separation and divorce cases.  He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and a Board-Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.  He and his team are well-equipped to handle all divorce and family law matters, no matter your circumstances. Contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or SCFamilyLaw@offitkurman.com to schedule an initial consultation.

Contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or SCFamilyLaw@offitkurman.com to schedule an initial consultation.



Ben.Stevens@offitkurman.com | 864.598.9172

Aggressive, creative, and compassionate are words Ben Stevens' colleagues freely use to describe him as a divorce and family law attorney. Mr. Stevens is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and is a Board Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is one of only two attorneys in South Carolina with those simultaneous distinctions. He has held numerous leadership positions in the AAML, and he currently serves as one of its National Vice Presidents. Mr. Stevens has a statewide practice and regularly appears all across South Carolina.  His practice is focused on complex divorce and child custody cases.

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