Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Fights over money are a predictor a marriage is in trouble

Unfortunately, in the United States marriage and divorce go hand in hand. As individuals become more self-sufficient they seem less likely to fight for their marriage and more likely to end it once problems occur. Divorce rates are near an all time high as almost half of all marriages end in divorce. While divorce serves as a popular method of dealing with, or as some might say avoiding, marital issues it is not the outcome couples have in mind when they exchange vows and say I do.

The phrase "money rules all" can apparently be applied to the realm of marriage. A new university study has ranked arguments over money as the top predictor for divorce. Gender did not change the results although, for women, arguments about sex were another high predictor of divorce. The study did find that couples fought more when the woman was the top earner and that money arguments might serve as a proxy for other deeper issues. Although they might be a proxy the added stress of arguments about finances leads to relationship dissatisfaction which can lead to divorce.

Divorce varies from state to state but most can be summed up as a division of property and rulings regarding children, spousal support and debt. Utah is a no-fault divorce state which means that, for the courts, disagreements about finances is enough of a reason to grant a divorce. In cases where couples can't come to an agreement about how to divide property, assets and debts a court will apply state law and make a determination for them.

Couples who are having trouble agreeing on finances may be helped by creating a pre or post-nuptial agreement. Such an agreement can help couples spell out financial obligations and what is and isn't marital property without having to end a marriage.

Source: DESERET NEWS, "Money fights predict rocky marriage, possible divorce," Lois M. Collins, July 24, 2013

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