The decline in the nation’s economy has led many people across the country to re-evaluate their lifestyles. Whether the current financial situation has affected you drastically or just on a minor level, one thing can be said for both: money is a driving force behind many actions we take in life. The recent deterioration in the economy has caused stress in marriages across the country. The problem now facing unhappy spouses is the fact they cannot afford a divorce at the moment.
While some people just cannot afford to get a divorce, citing lawyer costs and accountant fees, many analysts and attorneys expect divorces to resume at their previous pace as the economy improves. While money problems may be keeping unhappy couples together, it still remains one of the main causes of dissolutions. A recent article from TheStreet.com titled “When Fights over Money Ruin Marriages” listed seven common financial issues that may lead to divorce and highlighted subjects that often spark controversy between couples. Some of the issues are as follows:
GW&H previously cited a 2009 study by Utah State University titled “Bank on It: Thrifty Couples are the Happiest” (http://www.stateofourunions.org/2009/bank_on_it.php) that found couples who argue over money one or more times a week are 30 percent more likely to divorce than those who argue occasionally. To further add to the weight of money woes, couples who do not hold assets are 70 percent more likely to divorce than those who hold $10,000.
The Federal Reserve recently reported that Americans accumulated $988 billion in revolving debt in 2008. While Americans paid off almost $90 billion of that sum in 2009, there is still a lot of debt to argue over.
Fidelity Investments released a report in 2009 titled “Fidelity Research Finds Couples Make No Progress in Joint Planning and Management of Retirement Finances Despite Historic Market Volatility”, stating 55 percent of couples do not jointly make day-to-day financial decisions such as budgeting and bill paying. The report was based on an online survey in April 2009, consisting of a national sample of 502 couples.
The survey found that one person within the relationship typically paid the bills early, while the other procrastinated. Furthermore, many couples reported added stress at bill paying time due to an unnecessary purchase or shopping spree by the other party.
According to statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in three married women out-earns her husband. This ratio was reported in the article “Wives earning more than their husbands, 1987 – 2006.” While not all may feel threatened whenone spouse earns more than the other, differences in pay can definitely lead to conflict. As women enter marriage with assets and incomes they also enter the marriage with their own ideas on how money should be spent. If each party holds different spending interests for the money, it becomes increasingly harder to resolve the conflict, as there are two contributors to the budget.
Investment decisions also provide potential for spousal conflict. With both parties contributing to investments, issues such as general goals and risk tolerance are increasingly difficult. If one partner is more conservative than the other, it may become impossible to agree on an investment portfolio that includes riskier investments like emerging market funds.
Financial infidelity is a relatively new situation to ise. It relates to situations where a spouse hides money (of any type) from their spouse. It can include dishonest spending or unmentioned debt.
If one or more of these situations affect your marriage and becomes a reason for ending the relationship, it is important to seek counsel from an attorney experienced in family law and divorce. A key issue in divorce is economic survival and expertise in handling financial issues that arose during the marriage is very important to a successful settlement or litigated outcome
The family lawyers of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt help people work through the emotional and financial entanglements that occur when a marriage or committed relationship does not work out. With more than 80 years of combined experience, they offer highly competent and dedicated representation in the following matters; mediation, arbitration, separation and property settlement agreements, divorce, alimony and child support and equitable distribution of property. For a confidential and personal review of your case, contact Gailor, Wallis & Hunt at 1-866-362-7586 or visit them online at http://www.gailorwallishunt.com
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