Top Five Ways That Money Problems Cause Divorce
Everyone knows that money problems lead to divorce, right? Well, yes and no. Most people think that the stress of living on a tight income is what causes divorce. Sometimes that is true, but typically a tight budget alone does not cause a couple to split. So what types of money issues do cause a marriage to implode? Check to see if you recognize any of the five money dynamics below that are kryptonite to a marriage.
1) The Financial Roller Coaster: Everyone is familiar with anecdotal stories about lottery winners who had been married for many years and then divorced after a lottery windfall. Why is that? Because couples seem to have a difficult time weathering financial peaks and valleys. The dot.com crash a few years ago doomed both family income and marriages. Ditto for the most recent stock market crash. Marriages seem to do better when incomes are stable; extreme highs and lows are devastating to marriages.
2) The Financial Odd Couple-Spenders vs. Savers: Guess who wins in a marriage between a spender and a saver? No one! While common sense seems to suggest that the saver will provide balance to the spender and vice versa, this is not what occurs in practice. Rather than balance each other out, spenders and savers just come to resent each other’s relationship with money.
3) Control: Divorce attorneys believe in this Golden Rule: “Whoever makes the gold makes the rules!” Over and over again, family law attorneys watch marriages combust where the major wage earner in the couple (man or woman) attempts to exert solo control over the family income. The irony here is that once the couple divorces over this issue, the controller ends up writing a check every month to the non-wage earning spouse who then spends that money however they choose.
4) Values: Many couples have different values where money is concerned. For example, mom feels private school is a good investment while dad feels that the same money would benefit the children more if it were spent on interesting travel opportunities. Or mom believes in buying top of the line while dad thinks Target is just fine. Not surprisingly, different values concerning money leads to conflict.
5) Gambling: The money issue that no one wants to talk about is family income spent on gambling. This is a far bigger problem than most people think. Many people who are married to a gambler pull the plug on the marriage because they see it as the only way to prevent eventual financial ruin. The sad part in these cases is that frequently the marriage is “good” apart from one spouse’s gambling addiction.
Are money issues damaging your marriage or did they cause your divorce? Recognizing the types of money problems that cause divorce is the best way to prevent divorce in the first place.