Is financial turmoil the cause of divorce?

Probably not. While many divorces arise over money troubles (too little money, which places an unbearable strain on the marriage), money can’t be the primary cause of divorce. Divorce is too often a terrible investment. The odds of “cashing in” through divorce are too lousy to make it a worthwhile money play.

There are those few stereotypical divorce cases you hear about in the news that arise between super rich guys and their gold digger wives. In such cases it is not uncommon for the wives to profit from divorce and find themselves “set for life” as a result, but such cases are outliers in the overall mix of divorce cases.

In my experience in over 20 years as a divorce lawyer, I’ve observed that the primary cause of divorce is one spouse or both spouses reaching a point where they can’t stand each other. The data appears to bear this out.

According to a recent survey of 191 CDFA professionals from across North America, the three leading causes of divorce are “basic incompatibility” (43%), “infidelity” (28%), and “money issues” (22%). “Emotional and/or physical abuse” lagged far behind (5.8%), and “parenting issues/arguments” and “addiction and/or alcoholism issues” received only .5% each. I would tend to agree.

While there are clearly some wholly innocent and decent spouses who not only justifiably can, but should, divorce their irredeemably rotten spouses, the majority of divorces are not one-sided and not really necessary. And not just unnecessary, but harder on the couple than trying to correct their characters and salvage their marriages.

Failure to support a spouse financially is clearly grounds for divorce, but failure to provide financial support is not really a money problem, it’s a character problem. Virtually all “money problems” in divorce can be remedied by a combination of reducing spending, managing resources better, and increasing income (even if only moderately). Infidelity is not the “cause” of divorce, it’s the sense of betrayal and shattered trust that is. Again, infidelity is (usually) a character flaw.

Successful marriage requires devotion to each other, mutual sacrifice, and a recognition that marriage is bigger than your individual selves. Sadly, for some struggling married people, this post is the first they’ve learned this. It’s not their fault if they entered into marriage without their being given the tools they needed, but once they are on notice, they are responsible to find and get those tools. They owe it to themselves and to each other to get those tools. Here are some good places to start:

Saving Your Marriage From Divorce (Part 1 of 2)

Saving Your Marriage From Divorce (Part 2 of 2)

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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