22 Experts Give Warning Signs Of Divorce You Need To Pay Attention To

About Brette Sember, JD | Divorce.com

By Brette Sember, JD Updated Mar 20, 2024


content-icon Table of Contents
arrow down up

How Long Does a Divorce Take

This article reveals some signs that you may be headed for a divorce.

Some might equate the end of a marriage with tumultuous disagreements, clandestine infidelities or unforgivable betrayal. However, the signs of divorce can often be subtle, everyday occurrences that go unnoticed by one or both marital partners.

We surveyed family law attorneys, legal experts, counsellors and therapists to get their opinions on what they consider to be warning signs of divorce. The three most common factors include communication problems, lack of intimacy, and lack of respect.

How Long Does a Divorce Take

What Are the Most Common Signs of a Divorce?

Some of the most common signs of divorce include the following:

  1. Lack of Communication
  2. Lack of Respect
  3. Lack of Physical Intimacy
Learn about divorce online with Divorce.com

Sign #1: Lack of Communication

Communication is a key ingredient to a healthy relationship. Even when it leads to a disagreement, spouses must understand how the other is feeling most days.

Some might think avoiding conversations to prevent arguments is preferable to fighting with a spouse, but in essence, this reflects a lack of interest in understanding and working out issues with your spouse.

In fact, when communication breaks down completely, this is a sign that neither party is willing to invest the effort to learn about what their spouse is feeling.

This indicates that both parties feel the relationship is no longer worth saving and could be one of the signs you’re headed for divorce.

Divorce experts shared with us how communication problems in a marriage are a sign of divorce.

“The top signs that a couple will follow through with a divorce is lack of communication. Couples that cannot communicate openly and honestly are likely to be unsuccessful at mediation.”

David Reischer, Esq. | Divorce Attorney & CEO of LegalAdvice.com

“A breakdown in communication between the spouses and disagreements about fundamental, core values are the biggest relationship issues I see before a spouse files for divorce.”

Melina L. Muñoz Turco, Esq. | JusticeApp® Co-Founder Turco Legal

Sign #2: Lack of Respect

Mutual respect is a foundational element of a healthy marriage. Insensitivity, ridicule or absence of empathy from a spouse can lead to anger, resentment, and even fear.

Divorce experts provided us with quotes on how lack of respect is one of the warning signs of divorce.

“The one sign that always concerns me is contempt. When a spouse is feeling and expressing contempt for their partner, unless it was just in the heat of the moment, it is very hard to come back from that.”

Gretta Duleba, LMFTA | Viridian Counseling, PLLC Viridian Counseling

“Lack of respect is the biggest sign of a troubled marriage leading to divorce. It's very common to hear partners who are heading toward divorce say, ‘I'm tired of this, of always fighting with you.’ They are usually more impatient than in the past and anger more easily.”

Rosalind Sedacca, CDC| The Voice of Child-Centered Divorce, Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach

“When a couple comes in, I can tell they want a divorce if they are condescending and dismissive of each other's thoughts and feelings. Additionally, couples who want to divorce cannot be talked out of it.”

Chloe Ballatore | Chloe’s Consciousness Training

“If you're feeling resentful of anything: that's a definite warning. Resentment is like rust that can eat away at the foundations of the relationship. You need to talk about it, get it resolved.

Tina B. Tessina, PhD| (aka Dr. Romance), Psychotherapist and author of Dr. Romance's Guide to Finding Love Today

“As a therapist I often see these signs: criticism, stonewalling, contempt and defensiveness in high conflict couples who are heading for a divorce.”

Indigo Stray Conger | LMFT CST Choosing Therapy

“People divorce for a number of different reasons, but the common denominator is that the person who wants a divorce characterizes the other as a human being, to the core, in negative and critical ways.”

Rajeh A. Saadeh | The Law Office of Rajeh A. Saadeh

“Disdain sets in - Once one partner begins to feel disdain for the other the relationship is in real trouble. I'm right and they're wrong. Many couples in bad relationships begin competing with each other in unhealthy ways. Instead of working together toward a better future, it's a competition to prove that the other is wrong or that they're better than their partner.”

Kayla Broek | Dating and Relationship Expert for BeyondAges.com

“The most common behavior is a loss of trust and the most common words you hear are, for example, ‘I don't trust him,’ or, ‘She's lied to me so much I don't know when she's telling the truth.’ ”

Sonia Frontera | Divorce Attorney, Empowerment Trainer and Author https://www.soniafrontera.com

Sign #3: Lack of Physical Intimacy

Intimacy is one of the essential aspects of a successful marriage and is often taken for granted. A reduction in affection can result from busy work schedules, children, or other stressful events.

Temporary stretches of abstinence between partners are not necessarily a sign of a problem, however, if these periods last for months and years, the marriage may be on the rocks and there certainly are marital problems between the couple. Our experts provide insights on how a lack of physical intimacy is a primary sign of divorce.

“No sex or intimacy [is a sign of divorce]. When the relationship is stale and there is little to no intimacy, hugs, kissing, or cuddling anymore, it shows that there is a lack of love interest. Often this starts with things slowing down in the bedroom.”

Chris Seiter

“When everything is starting to get blurry and hard, or if you cannot find the affection that once filled you and your partner, these might be some indications that your relationship is heading to a divorce.”

Sonya Schwartz | Managing Editor at Her Norm

“Lack of intimacy/no sex, date nights are non-existent, and communication consists of nothing but negativity and shutting down. The common thread in all of these is the lack of effort. No work is being put in. They’ve just simply stopped trying.”

Destin Pfaff and Rachel Federoff | Founders and Relationship Experts of Love And Matchmaking

Other Signs of Divorce

Our divorce experts provided some other signs of divorce, including change in long-term expectations, infidelity, incompatible lifestyle changes, and emotional detachment.

“The ‘aha moment’ for many of my marital mediation clients who opt for the divorce route is finally realizing that they cannot change their partner’s behavior.”

Dori Shwirtz | Divorce Mediator and Coach Divorce Harmony

Financial infidelity is one of the top signs that I see when a couple is about to divorce. If one spouse is living a lifestyle that doesn’t match earnings or doesn’t want to share bank statements or have budget meetings with their spouse. If credit card bills stop being delivered and online passwords no longer work, it’s a major red flag.”

Brie Reyes, CDFA®, CFP®, ChFEBC Smart Financial Divorce

“A big sign is an increase in fantasy or escape behaviors: buying a new car, watching more porn, drinking more, or making new friends. All of these behaviors could indicate moving towards creating a new life without their partner in it.”

Nicole Arzt | Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

“Most partners initiating divorce will use words like, ‘hopeless,’ ‘despair,’ ‘detached,’ ‘What's the point?’ ‘I'm ready to move on,’ etc.”

Dr. Wyatt Fisher | Licensed Psychologist specializing in marriage counseling

“They look like strangers to each other. The spark is not there anymore. It’s like they are no longer happy with each other.”

“Everything is hard for them. When they try to talk about something, they end up fighting”

“There are no small fights anymore. When they don’t argue anymore, this might mean that they’re already being distant with each other and avoiding even a small confrontation.”

Samantha Moss | Editor and Content Ambassador at Romantific.com

“Some of the signs as per my experience are: assuming the role of an absentee partner, refusing to partake in shared responsibilities, and choosing not to validate your significant other’s feelings.”

Leslie Montanile | Family Law Attorney

“When one spouse starts to detach, they can become less verbal and only provide bare minimum information when communicating about their day.
They begin to separate themselves financially from their spouse by using a separate checking account or no longer depositing their income into the joint account.
The most common areas of conflict for spouses prior to initiating a divorce include financial disputes, parenting disagreements of minor children, and communication issues.”

Tiffany M. Hughes, Esq. | Hughes Law

"Sleeping in separate bedrooms. So-called 'business dinners' and 'business travel' become more frequent, as do late nights out. Passwords on phones, computers and accounts are changed and not shared with the other spouse are some of the top signs.
If you suddenly find yourself alone most nights, your spouse is changing normalized routines including involvement with the children, financial information is literally disappearing from the household, passwords are changed, hardly speaking, you should consider seeing an attorney."

Lisa Zeiderman | Family Law Attorney and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst

“A lack of emotional connection and eye contact are the telltale signs you’re headed for divorce. These are the initial things I notice in couples on the verge of divorce. They feel uncomfortable or bored around each other, and the tension is palpable.
Another sign that divorce is imminent is when there’s been a mutual decision to live separately for a few weeks, which eventually turns into months. Some married couples genuinely believe they will reduce friction and solve long-lasting problems by keeping their distance.
I can definitely say that creating distance between each other never works. As someone who has seen these scenarios play out in my practice over the years, no one has managed to save a marriage this way.”

Natalie Maximets | Certified Life Transformation Coach at Online Divorce

Learn about divorce online with Divorce.com


According to experts in the field, a universal predictor of divorce is emotional and physical detachment reflected in loss of communication, loss of respect, and loss of physical intimacy.

The separation that happens emotionally, mentally and physically is often a precursor for a problematic married life and detachment can lead to infidelity, dishonesty, and/or divergent life goals

If your partner feels like a stranger, your interactions are often combative, your lifestyle goals have moved apart, or there has been a betrayal in the relationship that cannot be surpassed, it may be time to consider divorce.

However, if you think there is still a connection with your spouse, it is imperative to take direct action to rebuild the bonds that originally brought you together.

Forgoing pride, anger and resentment to make yourself emotionally available could be a lifesaver for your relationship. If not, these are common warning signs that marital problems lie ahead.

Was this page helpful?

check full green icon Thanks for your feedback! close icon


content-icon Table of Contents
arrow down up