The end of a marriage rarely occurs overnight. Instead, marriages that end in divorce typically die a slow death over months or years. The factors that lead to that end can be complex and difficult to pinpoint. Financial problems, however, are among the most commonly given reasons for divorce. Fort Worth divorce lawyer Jon Boyd discusses financial problems within a marriage and how to prevent those problems from negatively impacting your divorce.
According to a study released by the National Institutes of Health, financial problems were cited as a major contributor to divorce by 36.7 percent of participants and by at least one partner from 55.6 percent of couples. Of couples who had at least one partner endorse financial problems as a contributor to divorce, 50 percent represented couples in which both partners agreed that financial problems were a major reason for divorce. In elaborating about this issue, some participants indicated that financial difficulties were not the most pertinent reason for their divorce, but instead contributed to increased stress and tension within the relationship. Other participants also expressed that some financial difficulties were linked to other problems (e.g., health problems, substance abuse).
A better understanding of exactly why financial problems are so frequently cited as a contributing factor in a divorce can help to prevent those same problems from escalating during and after the divorce process. Financial problems may be caused by a variety of factors; however, common causes include:
Differing views of money – money problems in a marriage frequently stem from the simple fact that each spouse views money differently. One spouse may be fragile and be committed to saving every extra dollar while the other spouse may take a more laissez faire view of money.
Lack of experience – couples who marry young may have little (or no) experience managing the money they now have. As with just about anything else, the more experience you have with something the better you are likely to be at it.
Lack of communication – it is shocking how many couples rarely speak to each other and when they do it is not about money.
Pressure to provide – if you are the spouse who is expected to provide the majority of the finances for the home each week, the prospect of uncertainty in the months ahead can be terrifying. That, in turn, can add even more layers of stress.
Not surprisingly, the financial problems couples have during their marriage frequently turn into animosity during a divorce. Along with issues related to minor children, disputes over marital assets and debts often turn a divorce into a lengthy – and costly – process. While it may be impossible to keep your financial disputes out of a divorce entirely, there are some things you can do to limit the negative impact those disputes will have, such as:
Have a clear picture of your finances. You may have a rough idea of your marital assets and debts; however, once you realize that divorce is imminent it is imperative that you create a complete inventory of all assets and debts so you have an exact picture.
Prioritize. Decide what is truly important to you and focus on that. Do not refuse to compromise or negotiate based on that fact that you are angry or hurt.
Consult with an attorney. Understanding your legal position on all issues is best before heading into a divorce; however, knowing where you stand with regard to the marital assets and debts is particularly important. Consult with an experienced divorce attorney to be certain you understand what debts and assets are subject to division in the divorce.
Be realistic. No matter how angry or hurt you may be, try and be realistic when negotiating the terms of your divorce. That includes being realistic about what assets you are entitled to and how the debts will be handled in the divorce. No one walks away from a divorce with everything they want. Be prepared to compromise.
If you have additional questions about divorce, contact an experienced Fort Worth Divorce Lawyer at Boyd Family Law to discuss your legal rights and options and to schedule your appointment today.