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Frequent fights about money a warning sign for divorce

| Dec 18, 2018 | Divorce |

All married couples in New Jersey will have occasional disagreements about money, but persistent arguments about finances could undermine a relationship entirely. A university study identified financial disputes as a leading indicator that a couple was headed for divorce. People who fought regularly about their finances had a 30 percent greater chance of seeking divorce.

Money problems typically involve debt that strains the spouses’ budget. A survey commissioned by Fidelity found that over half of couples bring debts into their marriages. Among respondents, 40 percent acknowledged that owing debts created marital conflict. Spouses often blame each other for the debt, and their hostile feelings tend to weaken their ability to communicate about important issues.

Spending habits and choices also strain some relationships when people cannot agree on financial priorities. A spouse might even make a major purchase like a new car in the hope of mending a relationship. The person might think that unhappiness stems from driving an old car, but the new car payment just burdens marital finances even more. Couples who recognize the stress of financial pressure might still resist discussing reasonable solutions because they fear looking like failures to their social circle. They may keep their expensive cars and country club or gym memberships instead of reining in their spending.

Although financial or relationship counseling has the potential to resolve marital conflicts, sometimes a person sees divorce as the only way forward. When choosing to end a marriage, a person may talk to an attorney and learn what the process could involve. An attorney may explain how the law could determine the division of marital assets and debts. Legal advice might help a person understand the short- and long-term consequences of certain decisions before agreeing to a divorce settlement.