Apr 17, 2023

Is Cheating the #1 Cause of Divorce? (Insights from Divorce Lawyer, Raiford Palmer)

Rob Roseman
Rob Roseman
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Divorce is a complex and emotionally charged process, and one common question that often arises is whether cheating is the main cause of divorce.

To shed some light on this topic, we spoke with Raiford Palmer, a divorce lawyer at S.T.G. Divorce Law Firm in Chicago, and author of the bestselling book, "I Just Want This Done." 

Here are some insights from our conversation:

1) Cheating is a Symptom, Not the Disease

Raiford Palmer believes that cheating is often a symptom of deeper issues in a relationship, rather than the primary cause of divorce. He explains, "Usually there's some underlying rot in the relationship or damage in the relationship that causes a person to eventually cheat or creates the conditions where they think they need that, where it creates a need for them emotionally or physically or whatever to seek out attention somewhere else." According to Palmer, cheating can be a manifestation of unresolved problems or unmet needs within the relationship.

2) Two Types of Cheaters

Palmer identifies two main categories of cheaters based on his experience as a divorce lawyer. The first category includes serial cheaters who enjoy the act of cheating and may not be suitable for marriage. The second category includes those who cheat as a one-time occurrence, often driven by emotional or physical needs that are not being fulfilled within their relationship. Palmer notes that these individuals may be seeking attention, emotional connection, or even validation through their actions.

3) Cheating and Underlying Relationship Problems

While cheating may be the trigger that leads someone to seek a divorce, Palmer emphasizes that it is often not the root cause of the dissolution of a marriage. He explains, "The thing that may have made them come into the office and talk to us is the discovery of a cheating situation. But when you talk to them, you find out the relationship had a lot of underlying problems for usually a long time that doesn't make the cheating right." Palmer suggests that cheating can often reveal deeper issues in a relationship that may have been present for a long time, and the act of cheating may be a symptom of these underlying problems.

4) Technology and Cheating

In the modern era of increased connectivity through technology, Palmer acknowledges that cheating has been facilitated by platforms such as social media and online dating apps. He points out that technology has made it easier for people to connect with others, including past romantic interests, which can potentially lead to infidelity. However, Palmer also notes that technology can work both ways, as it has also made it easier for cheating spouses to get caught, such as through text messages or online interactions with others.

5) Wrap-up

In conclusion, while cheating may be a common issue in divorce cases, Raiford Palmer believes that it is often a symptom of underlying problems within a relationship, rather than the sole cause of divorce. He emphasizes the importance of addressing the root causes of relationship issues and seeking appropriate support and counseling before making any decisions about divorce. Furthermore, Palmer acknowledges the impact of technology on cheating, both in facilitating opportunities for infidelity and in revealing evidence of such behavior.

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