A 21st Century Journalism Project

Financial Strain Leads To Divorce

In Organizations, Uncategorized on April 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm

By BROOK WHITE

Marriages tend to fall apart from compatibility issues, lack of trust, infidelity, the list goes on. However financial distress tends to take a heavy toll on marriage.

Deborah Marmolejo and her husband went through many marital issues and they allbegan with arguments about money.

According to Lawerence Fissure, author and lawyer arguments about money lead to compatibility issues.

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A child listens as her parents argue.

“Any married couple that argues “on a weekly basis” about anything is likely to have marital problems that lead to divorce.” Fissure said, “Don’t get me wrong, no marriage is without arguments, but if a couple can’t go without arguing for several weeks or months at a time, it’s common sense that compatibility issues plague the marriage.”

Marmolejo knew the marriage wasn’t working. She developed trust issues because her husband spent money on things other than paying for bills and other expenses.

Over the years the marriage had gotten worse. Although it seemed broken beyond repair she stayed married because of the cost of divorce and the difficulty of her being able to survive financially on her own.

The Emotional Cost of Poverty

This is a common issue among couples wishing to separate, so rather than getting a divorce many couples stay together no matter how bad the marriage gets because they can’t economically survive apart.

According to Fissure this is a more common scenario among older couples who can’t really afford to start their lives over.

“This may be one of the reasons why elderly and long-married people stay together, but likely also applies across the board.  Lots of people will come in for a divorce consultation and when they hear what they have to lose, decide not to get divorced.” Fissure said.

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If you stay together because of finances how happy are you likely to be?

According to Fissure a common example would look like this. A man who has been married for over 20 years, has been the sole provider for his family, and he had a large pension. He learned that if he divorced his wife he would have to pay her support/alimony for many years because she was a housewife that gave up her career and is too old to be trained to work in the modern workforce.

The man also learns that he will have to pay her attorney’s fees while also giving her half his pension, the house, and all other assets. The man doesn’t want to get rid of the house but he can’t afford to buy his wife’s half, and doesn’t want to pay a mortgage this late in his life.

“It’s not so bad sleeping downstairs in their finished basement and he remains in control of the money (he’s still supporting her, but on his terms, not those imposed by a court).” Fissure Said.

According to lawyer Leigh Ann Orton another option is to stay married, but separate from one another which allows couples to split assets themselves and live apart, but to remain legally married.

                                                           Actual Cost of Divorce

So what happens when someone in a marriage can’t afford to have a divorce?

According to Fissure if one person earns all of the income and has sole possession of the assets, that person may be ordered to pay attorney’s fees for their spouse. This way no one leaves the marriage with any new debt.

Deborah Marmolejo says she ended up worse since the divorce. She had to transition from a homemaker to returning to the workforce and continues to care for her children. She says there is also a chance that she will be unable to keep her house.

According to Leigh Ann Orton women generally end up worse off than men because women are often homemakers and don’t earn as much money as their husband, which makes it harder for them to live on their own.

Also women struggle more after divorce because many women become primary caregivers to children which adds to the costs of living.

Although finances may not be the absolute cost of divorce they are a big contributing factor that can enhance and lead to other marital problems and although divorce may seem like a way to clear up the issue it can sometimes make things harder on those involved.

 

 

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