‘We grew apart’ ‘No, you cheated on me’: UK’s top reasons for divorce revealed

29 July 2016


• 40% of UK divorcees find it difficult to provide reasons for divorce
• 58% of women instigated divorce vs just 33% of men

New research released today by national legal provider, Co-op reveals that divorced women and divorced men are poles apart when it comes to their reasons for their splits.

The research which was conducted among UK divorced adults highlights that currently in the UK, almost half (45%) of divorcees petitioned for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour.

For divorced men, ‘We grew apart’ was the most cited reason for their divorce (42%), in comparison to just over a quarter (29%) of women who said the same.

For divorced women however, their ex-spouse having an inappropriate relationship with another person was the main reason for their divorce, with over two fifths (44%) agreeing this was the case, in comparison to just over a third (35%) of men who said the same.

‘Work commitments’ was another reason called out by men, with over a tenth (13%) saying this was the case with their divorce in comparison to just 5% of women.

A further breakdown of the top 10 reasons for divorce:

Reason Divorced men Divorced women
‘We fell out of love’ 25% 22%
‘We grew a part’ 42% 29%
‘I stopped fancying them’ 18% 16%
One party had an inappropriate relationship with someone else 35% 44%
One party wanted children, the other did not 12% 11%
Work commitments put a strain on the relationship 13% 5%
Abused drugs / alcohol 4% 11%
They wanted to relocate 5% 3%
We had nothing left in common 4% 5%
Illness 3% 3%

Furthermore, the study reveals that women are more likely to ask for a divorce then men, with over half (58%) of divorced women saying they broached the subject with their ex-spouse, in comparison to just a third of divorced men (33%).

Men found providing reasons for divorce more difficult than women, with almost half (45%) of divorced men saying this is the case in comparison to over a third (35%) of divorced women.

When looking at the most stressful elements of divorce according to divorced UK adults, a fifth (20%) said it was the time it took, almost a fifth (17%) said it was the confrontational nature of the process and over a tenth (16%) said the reaction of their family members caused the most stress.

Tracey Moloney, Head of Family Law for Co-op Legal Services said:

“It’s interesting that whilst a fifth (22%) of divorcees bring up the divorce conversation together, two fifths (40%) find it difficult to agree reasons for their divorce.
“Divorce is such a personal and unique decision between two parties and it’s important that both parties come to the table and talk openly and honestly about their reasons for wanting to divorce. In my experience, this makes for a more amicable divorce and avoids the situation turning hostile later down the line.”

For further information please contact:

Lauren Hoult: lauren.hoult@co-operative.coop / 07702 505626
Emily Dalton: Emily.dalton@co-operative.coop / 07738621201

Research was conducted among 500 divorced UK adults with Atomik on behalf of Co-op Legal Services in July 2016

About Co-op Legal Services:
Co-op Legal Services (CLS) was established in 2006 and in 2012 it became the first major consumer brand to be granted alternative business structure (ABS) status under the new Legal Services Act.

Co-op Legal Services is an integral part of the Co-op’s Consumer Services Division which includes General Insurance and Funeralcare. CLS seeks to offer fixed and transparent pricing to its customers, meaning that the customer is aware of what the costs involved will be and therefore able to manage costs more effectively. 

CLS offers a range of products and services including Wills, Probate, Family Law, Personal Injury, Employment Law and Conveyancing.