Couples in California and elsewhere split up for many reasons, but a new study finds that the most common causes of divorce revolve around a lack of emotional fulfillment. The study was published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy.

For the study, researchers polled nearly 2,400 straight people who had recently divorced. Of those participants, who had an average age of 45, 44% said they initiated the divorce, 40% said their partners initiated it and 16% said it was a mutual decision. Meanwhile, 40% said their split had low or very low conflict, and 29% said there was a lot of conflict.

The study found that the four most common reasons for divorce centered on emotional, romantic and interpersonal issues. For example, 47% of the study’s participants blamed lack of love or intimacy for the end of their marriage, and 44% said that communication problems were the root cause of their relationship woes. Meanwhile, a significant percentage of participants named lack of sympathy, respect and trust or growing apart as the reasons they divorced. The authors of the study said that their findings could indicate that modern couples have a different view of marriage than past generations and that they place more emphasis on love, communication, intimacy, respect, trust and sympathy. They also may be more willing to end their marriages when those needs aren’t met.

Individuals considering divorce might benefit from meeting with a family law attorney as soon as possible. The attorney may carefully review a client’s situation and suggest ways to make the divorce process go as smoothly as possible. Legal counsel might also work to negotiate favorable agreements on property division, spousal support, child custody, child support and more. If the details of any agreement must be changed in the future, the attorney may petition the court for an agreement modification.