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Study finds fights about money often result in divorce

If asked to identify the primary sources of disagreement among the majority of newly married couples, there is a good chance that most people would list children, jobs, living arrangements, in-laws and, of course, money. While it's true that these are all issues over which the newly married frequently argue, there is one issue that actually greatly increases the risk of divorce further down the road.

According to researchers at Kansas State University, money is the one topic that consistently creates significant marital strife that can escalate into a permanent split. They arrived at this rather startling conclusion after examining data gathered by the National Survey of Families and Households on over 4,500 married couples.

"You can measure people's money arguments when they are very first married," said Sonya Britt, the primary author of the study. "It doesn't matter how long ago it was, but when they were first together and already arguing about money, there is a good chance they are going to have poor relationship satisfaction."

Indeed, the K-State researchers found that this pattern held true regardless of a couple's income, net worth or debt levels.

The natural question then is why are couples who argue about money during the formative years of their marriage so much more likely to end up in divorce court?

The researchers theorize that arguments over money can prove to be intense, prolonged and altogether exhausting, as couples grapple over their perhaps wildly different views of spending, borrowing and saving. If this pattern continues for years, it can negatively affect any children the couple may have and lower marital satisfaction.

Worse yet, it could even discourage couples from talking about important money issues or seeking out the services of a financial advisor if they find themselves facing dire economic circumstances.

One solution offered by the K-state researchers is for recently married couples to put aside the time to talk openly about financial issues, including their views on money and how they wish tackle any current or looming financial challenges. Such an approach, they argue, will help ensure that the relationship can withstand any financial disagreements and lay the foundation for an open dialogue in the future.

What are your thoughts on this study? Have you had any firsthand experience with arguments about money and divorce?

Please visit our website if you would like to learn more about dissolution of marriage here in Texas or any of its related issues, including spousal maintenance or property division.

Source: Kansas State University, "Researcher finds correlation between financial arguments, decreased relationship satisfaction," July 12, 2013 

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