A survey in the UK reports that adultery is the “main cause of divorce.” The survey indicates that the first five years of marriage are virtually free of divorce and that if the marriage has lasted more than 20 years, it’s virtually safe from divorce.
The main problem with the survey is that the sole source of the information seems to be matrimonial lawyers. As a result, it’s almost comically flawed.
Let me assure you that there are plenty of divorces after marriages of a few months or one or two years; anyone who wants to confirm this can just spend a day at divorce court monitoring the filings that come in. They’re just much less likely to end up in the office of an adversarial lawyer.
Asking adversarial divorce lawyers to describe anything about divorce in general is bit like asking a resident of Scarsdale what it’s like to live in New York. They may think they underestand it, but all they know is their tiny piece of it.
Increasingly, people who divorce are representing themselves, they’re using no lawyer at all, or they’re ending their marriage using an uncontested divorce. That is, they use a lawyer for the limited purpose of preparing the documents they need to sign and file.
And while we’re at it, my guess is that adultery “causes” relatively few divorces. It may be present in many of them, but I believe the main cause of divorce is the collection of financial, and emotional, and personal challenges that come when two people try to tie their lives together. My term for this collection of challenges is “crud.” I think crud causes most divorces, and crud causes most adultery. But it’s simplistic and naive to say that adultery causes divorce.