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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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Finances as a cause of divorce

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: Just curious...what percentage of marriages end in divorce for financial reasons?

A: This is an interesting topic that I have addressed in much more detail in other publications and presentations. The opinions vary dramatically depending on where you look. In addition, there are other difficulties in making such statistical measurements. For example, the reasons that an individual cites as the causes of divorce change over time, making it difficult to measure with any reliability. In addition, the effects of financial pressures may vary in different age groups but in the under 50 age group, the percentage of divorces triggered by finances is higher than we commonly recognize and financial stress may actually be the single leading causation factor of divorce now. A recent online survey (released 2/14/07) conducted by PayPal Inc. indicates that financial issues are the #1 cause of disputes among couples. This survey reported that an amazing 82% of respondents admit hiding purchases from spouses as a way to avoid fights. This seems to indicate that people are attempting to bury their financial pressures rather work out the problems. If this is true, it is easy to see how small problems could compound until they become an irreconcilable difference. Of course, divorce is seldom triggered by one single cause, but is usually a combination of failures. More often than not, financial stress is cited as one of those reasons. In other words, more than 50% of individuals would cite financial stress or financial differences as one of the reasons they decided to divorce. We simply do not know how often that financial problems are the primary cause of divorce.


More resources:

Controlling the Cost of Divorce Debunking the Myths of Peaceful Divorce Strategies Eight Common Financial Mistakes in a Divorce Financial Coaching During a Divorce