Money Woes And Divorce: The Relationship Is More Complicated Than Most People Realize

Law Blog

Have you ever heard the saying that "money is the root of all evil"? Well, money -- whether you have too little or more than enough -- may also be at the root of another common human problem: divorce.

For a long time now, experts have known that there's a connection between money troubles and divorce. But, according to a new report, the relationship between money and divorce may be a lot more complicated than most people imagine. 

Good economic times signal poor marital outcomes

Money is a significant stressor for a lot of people, whether they're married or not. However, couples are actually more likely to fall apart when the economy is healthy than when it's weak. 

Experts speculate that during troubled economic times spouses are more likely to pull their resources and try to be supportive of each other. They may also simply not have the resources -- emotionally or financially -- to start over. On the other hand, when the economy is booming, divorce rates tend to spike because couples can more easily picture themselves moving on and surviving without their spouse. It's also easier to get a job elsewhere and relocate, which can make ending a relationship more convenient.

Economic disparities between spouses are a recipe for divorce

Perhaps the biggest money factor that tends to predict whether or not a divorce is in your future is how large the economic gap is between your income and your spouse's income. When couples are fairly well-matched financially, there's a lot less strain than in marriages where one half of the couple is a high earner and one is not.

It doesn't matter whether the lower-earning spouse forgoes a career for the sake of the children, serves as a support person to the higher-earning spouse's career path, or simply chooses to enjoy the leisurely lifestyle that his or her spouse's income brings. The problems that tend to creep into the marriage are the same.

The higher-earning spouse often exerts more financial control over the relationship, and that causes resentment between a couple. Sometimes, the higher-earning spouse feels like the lower-earning spouse is taking advantage of the financial situation and overspending, which can provoke fights. Finally, the higher earner may also have to put in long hours and spend a lot of time away from the home, which can lead his or her spouse to feel lonely and neglected.

What are the possible solutions? Good communication about money is important, but ultimately a relationship may be doomed unless a couple is willing to get on the same page as far as their financial goals and commitment to those goals. 

If you and your spouse have reached a parting of the ways over financial matters or other issues, a divorce attorney can advise you of your rights and help you understand your options.


2 November 2018

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