CHEATING may not be one of the main reasons for divorce in the United Kingdom, but in South Africa infidelity is still among the top three causes of split-ups.
A UK-based company, Cooperative Legal Services, has found that couples today are half as likely to list cheating as the reason for divorce.
Analysing more than five million divorce cases since the 1970s, the researchers found that modern couples are more likely to cite unreasonable behaviour as the cause of break-ups.
It found that 47% of divorcees today cited unreasonable behaviour – including unsociable spouses, cross-dressing husbands who wanted sex changes and stealing from a joint bank account – compared to the 27% in the '70s.
Divorce attorney and author of Everyone's guide to divorce and separation, Bertus Preller, found in a comprehensive study looking at about 1000 cases that the top three reasons for divorce in South Africa are lack of communication, abuse and infidelity.
"Infidelity or adultery is near the top of the list of reasons for divorcing in South Africa.
"Infidelity undermines the root of the relationship, namely trust, and is a violation of the mutually agreed rules or boundaries that a couple assumes when they start their relationship," Preller said.
He said it was difficult to determine why the top reasons for divorce differed among countries.
"I also disagree with the results of that study to some degree. Infidelity is one of the top reasons.
"I am not 100% certain but I think in UK law fault no longer plays a role, whereas in South Africa, fault is still taken into consideration like the recent case in the high court where a woman sued the third party in an adultery matter and was compensated."
Preller said lack of communication was the single biggest cause for South African divorces and accounted for 70% of all marital breakdowns.