Study Suggests Financial Arguments Are The Best Predictor Of Divorce

Study suggests financial arguments are the best predictor of divorce

Many couples in Cobb County, Georgia, have had some serious fights, including the almost inevitable spats about money. While these disagreements do not always have to be harmful, a new study indicates that these arguments may predict a future divorce more than arguments over any other topic do. These findings underscore the importance of couples officially planning how they will handle difficult issues in their marriage early on.

Money is the most divisive issue

According to the Huffington Post, a Kansas State University researcher reviewed data collected during the National Survey of Families and Households. More than 4,500 couples were surveyed. For men and women alike, disagreements about money were the best predictor of divorce, regardless of each couple's overall financial situation.

The study found that financial arguments tended to last longer than other disagreements and that couples became more harsh verbally during arguments about money, according to a press release posted on the Kansas State University website. Couples also required more time to reconcile after fighting about finances.

The study's authors suggest that financial arguments could be especially problematic for a few reasons. Couples may have fundamentally different ideas about what money should primarily be used for, or they may bring deeper issues and insecurities into financial arguments, according to the Huffington Post. The KSU press release, meanwhile, describes the possibility that financial arguments may lead to greater tension, less planning and more financial strife.

Regardless of the exact reasons, financial struggles and disagreements clearly can be detrimental to a marriage. Fortunately, there are measures that couples can take to protect themselves and their relationship against these disagreements.

Effective financial and marital planning

Communication and planning are both crucial for couples that want to handle their finances well and minimize conflict. In the KSU press release, the study's authors suggest that couples do all of the following early on:

  • Discuss what kind of financial arrangements will be fair to both individuals.
  • Engage in formal financial planning or counseling.
  • Make plans for dealing with uneven arrangements, like one spouse having debt or one spouse adopting the role of stay-at-home parent.
  • Plan for the future instead of looking at the short term.

One way that a couple can do this and ensure that they are both on the same page is through pre-marriage planning with an attorney. Pre-marriage planning allows a couple to formally agree on a number of things, from how individual finances will be handled to what will happen financially in the event of a divorce. Pre-marriage planning can help a couple determine if a prenuptial agreement will be appropriate to protect their interests in case a divorce is someday necessary.

Effective planning for handling finances and other issues can make a significant difference in a marriage. However, if these measures fail, anyone who finds that differences with a spouse are not reconcilable should make sure to speak with an attorney.