Heard any reports on the economy lately? By now, many of us have grown tired of financial experts and analysts talking ad nauseum about the recession. Some say it’s getting worse, explaining that we’re headed for a depression, or that it’s a “double-dip.” Others say the economy is getting better, that we’re turning a corner and will all soon be on better financial footing. The outlook seems to change from week to week, making us altogether unsure of where we’re heading and what we’ll be able to afford in the near and long-term future.
Does this sound like your marriage? The 7 percent decline in divorces last year seems to suggest that many couples who are contemplating divorce these days wonder if they can afford to split up. They may fear that they can’t support themselves and any children on one income, or that child support won’t be enough to cover expenses — worse yet, that their spouse won’t pay enough or at all. They might worry about losing the family home. Both spouses may feel that no matter how unhappy they are, the only choice is to stick things out and wait for either the relationship or the economy to improve.
Depending on the problems with your marriage, this may or may not be a solid plan. There are countless reasons for divorce, which one newspaper columnist recently divided up into two categories: soft reasons and hard reasons. The soft reasons include general dissatisfaction and unhappiness, growing apart and a lack of good communication. These are problems that many financially struggling spouses tend to “ride out” or try to address before making the commitment to file divorce papers.
The hard reasons tend to be the tougher problems to overcome: abuse, addiction, affairs and other issues that typically stem from just one spouse. These problems can be very emotionally damaging, and are oftentimes dangerous. Not addressing them out of financial worry is likely to make the situation worse.
If you’re emotionally prepared for a divorce but worry that your finances may not be in order, you may benefit from contacting a family law specialist who can outline potential costs for you and discuss options for managing your future. The more information you have, the better prepared you’ll be to take the next step, whatever that may be.
Source: The News & Advance, “Bad Economy Saving Marriages,” Ken West, Nov. 28, 2011