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How financial issues can lead to divorce

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2023 | Divorce

Divorce happens for many reasons. Some couples divorce because of personality conflicts. Others will seek divorce because of communication issues or infidelity. 

A common and sometimes unexpected reason for divorce is financial issues. Many strong relationships have frequent financial talks, which include how bills are paid, how money is spent for hobbies and how savings should be used. Without these in-depth talks and constant communication, financial matters can lead to serious disputes and an eventual divorce. Here are three financial issues that can spell major trouble in a marriage:

Financial abuses

Financial abuse can happen in many ways. In one scenario, a spouse may spend frivolously, which may lead to tons of debt and financial instability for the entire household. Another way financial abuse can happen is if a spouse doesn’t work and is supported by the other spouse. While this works for many people, the spouse who makes money may use their income to control what the other spouse can and can’t do. In other words, the spouse could weaponize their money to control the other.


Unemployment can be hard for many couples. Some people experiencing unemployment can lean on their spouse for financial support. However, many marriages end because someone suffering from unemployment is unwilling to find new jobs and contribute in any way to the household bills. When a couple has different expectations about each party’s financial role, that can lead to chronic resentment and fights.

Different priorities 

Most people assume that it’s only the lack of money that’s a problem in a marriage — but wealth can also lead to issues. For example, a couple can have plenty of money but still fight over how that money is used if they have different priorities. If one party wants to invest for the future and the other is a “spender” who wants to splurge and travel, that can put the couple at odds. Plenty of money also means that a couple may have less financial incentive to work through rough patches in their relationship.

A higher income or savings may also make a spouse jealous. For instance, if someone suddenly got a promotion, won the lottery or inherited money, then their spouse may feel they have a right to the money. This kind of scenario is unique for every couple.

In a divorce, how debts and savings are distributed between spouses often leads to additional conflicts. It may help people going through divorce to understand their legal rights as they contemplate their financial futures.