Financial issues are an all-too-common reason why marriages end in divorce. Sometimes a couple's constant struggles to make ends meet can put an unbearable strain on the marriage. However, even well-to-do couples can have serious battles over finances that can drive them apart. They may disagree on spending and saving habits or on what to spend their money. When one spouse has considerably more income or assets than the other, it can also put a strain on the marriage.
In a recent study conducted by the credit reporting firm Experian, 59 percent of the divorced people who were surveyed reported that finances played "somewhat" or more of a part in their break-up. One-fifth of people said it played a "big" role.
Financial Lessons Learned from Divorce
When it comes to specific financial issues, more than half of respondents reported that their spouse spent too much. Roughly the same number reported not being financially compatible with their spouse. Both women and men (71 percent of women and 60 percent of men) said that they were unprepared for their spouse's spending habits.
Two lessons learned by respondents were that they didn't know more about their partner's spending habits before they tied the knot, and that they didn't remain more financially independent throughout the marriage.
Discuss Finances Early and Often
If couples discuss their attitudes towards finances and plans for their joint financial future prior to the marriage, they may be able to save themselves some unpleasant surprises. Drawing up a prenuptial agreement, even if neither of you is going into the marriage with significant assets, can help you discuss these issues with the guidance of your family law attorneys.
One Experian executive also advises that couples continue to have regular discussions about finances throughout the marriage and that both remain engaged in the family's financial matters. If the marriage ends, the more you know about your and your spouse's assets and debts and what you're paying for the various household expenses, the more likely it is that you'll be able to move on to your newly-single life in good financial shape.
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