Lack of commitment could be a significant factor for couples in California who get a divorce. In a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 75 percent of respondents cited it as one thing that contributed to their divorce. It was followed by infidelity, which was identified as a factor by more than half of respondents.

Participants in the study were 52 men and women who had participated in a premarital counseling program 14 years earlier called PREP but who had since divorced. They were asked to identify factors that contributed to the divorce as well as whether any one factor was the last straw. For example, around one-third of respondents said substance abuse was a factor while 12 percent said it was the last straw.

Over half of participants said too much arguing was an issue, and some participants said they felt they had not received enough premarital education despite their work with PREP. Others said they had married too young, and around one-third struggled with financial issues. Half of couples had one respondent who said substance abuse was an issue although both partners only agreed on this as a reason in one-third of divorces. Not enough family support, domestic violence, health problems and religious issues also played a part in a number of divorces.

When people are going through a divorce in which domestic violence or substance abuse is an issue, this could come up in child custody negotiations. Parents may need to go to court and demonstrate that the child is not safe with the other parent. However, in other cases, such as a divorce that happens because of marrying too young, the split may be relatively amicable, and the couple might be able to negotiate property division and child custody without going to court.