Study Finds Money Arguments May Predict Divorce

While it may come as no surprise, a recent study suggests couples who argue about money may be more likely to face divorce down the road.

In the latest research to explore the connection between money stress and marital dissatisfaction, a Kansas State University researcher found money arguments are the leading factor in predicting the likelihood of a couple to divorce.

Study author Sonya Britt, an associate professor of family studies, notes [a]rguments about money is by far the top predictor of divorce… It’s not children, sex, in-laws or anything else. It’s money — for both men and women.

Using data from the National Survey of Families and Households, Ms. Britt drew the following conclusions after analyzing data from 4,500 couples:

  • Couples who argue more about finances are more likely to divorce.
  • Income and net worth are not predictive, since financial arguments between couples occur at all levels on the socio-economic spectrum.
  • Arguments about money can be more hostile and lead to longer retention of bitter feelings.
  • Bitter feelings, over the short- and long-term, lead to reduced relationship satisfaction.

Ms. Britt is not the first researcher to focus on the association between arguments about money and the probability of divorce. Using earlier results from the National Survey in 2009, a study from Utah State University found couples who disagree about money approximately once a week are 30 percent more likely to see their marriage end in divorce.

While disagreements about money may symbolize deeper issues in the style and tendencies of a couple, a history of financial arguments can trigger the same difficulties during division of property during divorce.

If seeking divorce, talk to an experienced family law attorney in Connecticut when you have questions about division of assets or the marital estate.