Has the knot tied with your soulmate become a financial noose around your marriage’s neck? If so, you’re not the only couple struggling to navigate individual financial differences.

More than half (59%) of divorced people said finances played a role in the downfall of their marriage, according to a survey by major credit bureau Experian. Around 20% said that financial conflict was a “significant factor” in their divorce, the survey found. Around 21% of respondents in another survey by personal finance site Magnify Money cited “money” as the cause of their divorce.

However, the fact that you and your spouse have money issues doesn’t mean your marriage is doomed.

The money conflicts that could lead to divorce and how to prevent them.

Overspending

When one person in a couple lives within your means and the other spends like crazy, that can lead to trouble. When both people in the marriage overspend, the stress caused by too much debt, overdrawn accounts and unaffordable monthly payments can destroy marital bliss.

Overspending was the “biggest source of tension” and the most common problem (30%) cited by Magnify Money survey respondents who said money was the reason for divorce. To curtail overspending, create a monthly budget with your spouse and then both stick to it.

Financial surprises after marriage

Surprise! Your spouse has a ton of credit card debt, owes $70,000 in student loans and has spending habits nothing like your own. Around 54% of respondents in the Experian survey said they were surprised by their partner’s financial situation after marrying, and 71% of women found their mate’s spending habits to be different from what they expected.

Talk openly and honestly with each other about how much debt you each have, views on money and spending and financial goals long before the wedding day. Premarital financial counseling can help avert future financial problems.

Credit card debt

Around half who responded to the Experian survey said their former spouse accrued a high amount of credit card debt on joint credit cards. Respondents to the Magnify Money survey who attributed money problems to causing their divorce, cited credit card debt as the second most common money problem in their now-dissolved marriages.

If credit card debt is causing you to lose interest in staying in the marriage, it may be time to meet with a financial counselor at a nonprofit credit counseling agency for help creating a budget and setting up a debt payoff plan.

Financial infidelity

You don’t have to meet your mistress at a motel for lunch or try out private poses with your yoga instructor to be a cheater. You can be a financial philanderer, too.

Of those who reported in the Magnify Money survey that money was the reason for their divorce, 37% said their spouse lied about money, 8% admitted lying to their spouse about money and 10% reported that they lied to one another. Even if you try to hide financial missteps, the truth will likely emerge at some point, so be upfront about what you spend and where you stand.

Credit score differences

Nearly one-third of respondents in the Experian survey said their former spouse’s credit score caused financial friction in the marriage. More than 70% of respondents said that if they ever remarry, it will be only to someone with good credit.

A poor credit score doesn’t have to be a permanent stain, since collections and late payments drop off your credit report after seven years. Start paying on time, correcting credit report discrepancies and building your individual credit scores now so you’re on equal financial footing eventually.

Student loan debt

More than a third of student loan borrowers surveyed by Student Loan Hero said that debt and other financial factors led to divorce. However, 13% cast the blame for their marriage’s end on student loan debt specifically.

If you or your spouse is saddled with a crippling amount of student loan debt, consider refinancing or consolidating student loans for a better interest rate, more affordable monthly payment or better loan terms.

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Article last modified on March 21, 2023. Published by Debt.com, LLC