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Financial arguments may mean couples are likely to divorce

It is difficult to determine whether a particular marriage will end in divorce. According to a recent study, however, early arguments about certain subjects, particularly money, are predictors of divorce.

Sonya Britt, an assistant professor of financial planning at Kansas State University, recently published a study entitled, “Examining the Relationship between Financial Issues and Divorce” in the Family Relations Journal. Britt’s study involved the examination of data collected from just over 4,500 couples in the late 1980s and early 1990s as part of the National Survey of Families and Households.

Britt discovered that arguments over financial issues are by far the most accurate predictor of divorce. Although arguments over other issues, such as sex, children and relationships with in-laws, are also common, early disagreements about finances generally indicated whether a couple would last over time. The data indicates that this is true regardless of other variables, such as age of the couple or sex of the disagreeing spouse. 

According to Britt, the reason is fairly simple. If couples are just starting out and they are already having arguments about finances, the amount of relationship satisfaction they experience overall is likely to be quite low.

Britt’s work confirms the findings of other studies that have shown financial disagreements to be one of the key issues driving couples’ decisions to split. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri, for example, found that couples who receive financial assistance from the state are more likely to get divorced than couples who do not receive assistance.

Source: Huffington Post, “Divorce study: financial arguments early in relationship may predict divorce,” July 12, 2013

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