In the past, we have written about the concept of high net worth divorce – that is, a divorce between spouses who have accumulated a large number of assets. These divorces are different from other separations due to the complexity of the property division process. Often, such divorces include complications, including trust funds, investment portfolios, multiple real estate parcels or privately owned businesses.

Despite these differences, however, the reasons for the separation are often the same, regardless of the couples’ net worth. A recent study, for example, illuminated the effects that drinking can have on a relationship – and the results were surprising.

According to the study, heavy drinking does not necessarily lead to divorce. Rather, drinking a different amount than your partner does. The study found that if one spouse drinks heavily while the other drinks less, the relationship is more likely to end in divorce.

This is because if the two spouses have different drinking habits, then they likely have different social habits as well. It can be difficult to maintain a long-term connection under these circumstances, as spouses may feel as though their personal lives are moving in different directions.

Conflicting feelings about alcohol could also suggest a lack of compatibility between spouses. This could become a serious problem, as experts say a lack of compatibility is the second-most common cause of divorce. Experts suggest that spouses who drink more than their partner should consider making a change to reduce the imbalance.

Whether it is a high asset marriage or not, relationships can be extremely difficult to maintain, especially in the long term. Couples need to constantly examine and reevaluate their relationship, to determine the best path for the family to take. This may include divorce when of therapy or reconciliation have not proven effective.

Source: NBC News Health, “Divorce is more likely when one spouse drinks more than the other” Ashley Balcerzak, Dec. 26, 2013