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According to Magnify Money's 2017 Divorce and Debt Survey, 21% of respondents regarded financial problems as the cause of their divorce.  But, if couples who are suffering from marriage problems think that divorce is going to solve their problems, the survey quickly debunks their theory.

More than half of respondents who claim money as the cause of their divorce said they went into debt afterward.  The survey also indicated 60% of these couples noted a negative impact on their credit score following their divorce.  

Problems now, problems later

The survey found that couples who did not report problems with money were far less likely to suffer from a worsened credit score after their divorce.  Individuals who have problems with money while married will be more likely to suffer from financial problems even if divorced.  

Overspending a primary problem

The survey indicated that overspending was the main financial problem couples specified as a source of tension.  Not only does overspending cause issues that lead couples to fall behind on normal household expenses, but should their financial tension lead to divorce, the added stress of two households, legal expenses with on-going spending problems can result in a "perfect financial storm".

Since many couples suffer from financial frustrations that decay a loving relationship, the first place to start, to avoid more financial turmoil is the exact source of the problem. 

This means a married couple should pinpoint issues like overspending instead of simply reacting to them.  Many couples may think divorce is the best option based on an unhappy marriage due to financial and emotional stress, but it may actually cause more damage to each of them and their financial issues. 

Their financial problems may be one of many problems for which the couple has to contend.  However, if financial struggles are the major issue, the couple may have a chance to improve both marriage and financial strength when dealing with their problems together.

Dealing with money and marriage problems

How do you determine the primary source of your financial problems?  It's usually pretty simple, yet so hard to do. 

The couple either overspends or under earns (just like food and the human body - we either overeat or don't do enough activity).  But, just like the issues many face when trying to "get into shape", financial fitness may be just as difficult to accomplish.

However, unless there are acute issues (i.e. job loss, illness or addiction), there is usually a pretty obvious reason or set of reasons that can be addressed when one or both individuals remove the blinders and admit where their financial weakness starts and where it has taken them. 

It's not always easy to admit or even realize these issues, much less take action to correct them.  However, hard choices need to be made that may include moving, getting a secondary income or better employment. 

However, it's important to realize that the alternatives (like separation or divorce) may still lead to these major changes.   One of the easiest things to do is to start a budget.  Consider the 2019 DMK Budget Series for helpful tips and ideas to save and organize your finances. 

Changes should involve both spouses 

Even several small changes can really add up and provide some financial improvements in your household.  Once the positive financial energy works it's way into your relationship, you will trend towards better choices and changes that can continue to help solve your financial setbacks.  It's important to make these changes together and for both spouses to be involved in the decisions and changes that affect their finances.

Counseling may be helpful

If either spouse is "less than committed" to correcting their financial problems, their marriage will continue to degrade and as indicated in the survey, so will their financial woes.  

If both spouses love each other and are dedicated to their financial well being, they may find help with a marriage counselor who specializes in financial problems.  If one spouse has a problem with overspending, gambling or has committed a financial infidelity, that spouse may benefit from individual counseling specific to their problem, as well as, marriage counseling.  


Couples should not confuse marriage or individual counseling with credit counseling. 

Credit counseling is helpful in advising and negotiating affordable payment plans to help get people back on track. Find a local marriage counselor or therapist in our DMK Directory

Some popular credit counseling companies include:

Fair Credit

Money Management International

American Consumer Credit Counseling

Take Charge America

Alliance Credit Counseling

While credit counseling may also be beneficial to couples suffering from financial crisis, the emotional and psychological guidance and support from a licensed counselor or therapist with experience in treating couples with financial problems will be imperative for marriage success.


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