| October 18, 2012

We surveyed 105 mental health professionals about divorce: its causes, predictors, preventative measures and everything in-between ... and their responses yielded some surprising results.

With so many marriages ending in divorce, we wanted to know: How can a couple know — in advance of getting married — whether the marriage will last?

Unfortunately for divorcées, the majority of experts polled (58 percent) agree that their chances of getting divorced are higher than people who have never been married before. Another indication a marriage will fail? Cold feet. In fact, consistent with the results of a recent UCLA study, a whopping 80 percent of YourTango experts polled agree that pre-wedding doubt by women is a predictor of divorce.

However, if you think that couples who sign prenups are just begging to get divorced, think again. Contrary to what superstition might say (i.e. talking about divorce before marriage is bad luck!), 86 percent of experts polled agree that a prenup has no predictable impact on a marriage with regard to the couple's likelihood of divorce.

So what does cause couples to get divorced? According to the experts, communication problems are the leading cause, followed by sexual infidelity and "not spending enough time together/not mutually prioritizing the marriage." Therefore, it follows logically that 65 percent of experts polled agree the most effective way a couple can divorce-proof its marriage is by improving communication. Second most effective? Decreasing negativity and criticism.

With an understanding of divorce's predictors and causes, we wanted to know: How can a couple effectively divorce-proof its marriage? According to the survey, 25-50 percent of divorces could have been avoided with couples therapy. However, it isn't a cure-all. Rather, 65 percent of experts say that 25-50 percent of couples who attend couples therapy during their marriages end up getting divorced anyway.

Your best bet? Premarital counseling. In fact, 80 percent of experts polled agree that couples who attend premarital education/counseling are less likely to get divorced than couples who don't.