Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Fixing Money Problems Is Fixing Marriage

From NBC News:

More than half of all couples go into their partnerships with debt, and 40 percent say that this financial burden ends up having a negative impact on their relationships, according to a new Couples & Money study by Fidelity. Not only do couples disagree on whose responsibility the debt is — 49 percent contradict one another as to exactly who’s on the hook — couples who are concerned about paying down debt are also more likely to suffer from poor communication, fighting and difficulty having conversations about money.

And those things portend more trouble. According to a study from Utah State University, fighting about finances is a top predictor of divorce, with couples who fight frequently being 30 percent more likely to divorce than those who rarely argue. Thankfully, the next time you feel a quarrel brewing, you don’t have to give in to temptation, and you may even be able to stop your fight — along with your debt— in its tracks.

Rarely do couples walk into a divorce attorney’s office and announce, “We want a divorce because we’re having money problems,” but ultimately, money is at the root of many divorces, explains Bernard G. Post, New York City matrimonial attorney. “When you can’t communicate about money, then neither party is going to recognize when they’re living beyond their means, or when you need to cut back on your expenses,” he says.

For so many of us, it’s the unknowns that cause the most stress — How will I be able to pay this down? How much debt do I have? What’s the interest rate? According to the Federal Reserve, Americans underestimate how much student loan debt they carry by 25 percent and underestimate their credit card debt by 37 percent.

Read more here.

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