Researchers study relationship between divorce and finances

According to a new research study, the link between financial hardships and divorce is mitigated when couples in Illinois start their marriages with high-to-moderate satisfaction with their relationships. People who felt dissatisfied in the early years of their marriages were the most susceptible to reduced marital satisfaction if they also faced economic disadvantages.

University researchers surveyed 431 low-income couples from 2009 to 2014. Five times during that period, the subjects answered surveys that measured their satisfaction with their partners. The researchers found that about 60% of couples reported high satisfaction with their marriages in the early years. Another 30% said that they were moderately satisfied. The remaining 10% were largely dissatisfied with their marriages.

As time went on, the couples in the high-to-moderate satisfaction category remained mostly satisfied even when financial challenges added stress to their lives. People who began marriage with low satisfaction, however, became even more disillusioned with their relationships when financial stress entered the equation. Within the dissatisfied group experiencing economic problems, wives reported much higher levels of unhappiness than their husbands.

Although studies of the population might identify broad factors that motivate people to get divorces, every relationship possesses unique characteristics. Whether or not someone is experiencing economic challenges, a divorce will require multiple financial decisions concerning the division of property. A family law attorney may provide guidance to a person about to enter the divorce process. An attorney might describe how state law might influence the divorce settlement if the couple cannot come to terms privately. The representation of an attorney during negotiations with a former partner may help a person stay focused on practical needs instead of hostile emotions. Suggestions from an attorney might prevent a person from resorting to litigation that could extend the time necessary to complete the divorce.

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